Simple Dreams

Simple Dreams

A Musical Memoir

Book - 2013
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Tracing the timeline of her remarkable life, Linda Ronstadt, whose forty-five year career has encompassed a wide array of musical styles, weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and '70s.

Linda Ronstadt was born into a musical family, and her childhood was filled with everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, in this beautifully crafted memoir, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.

Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folkrock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the famed Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early backup bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda went on to become the most successful female artist of the decade.

In Simple Dreams , Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success, including stories behind many of her beloved songs. And she describes it all in a voice as beautiful as the one that sang "Heart Like a Wheel"-longing, graceful, and authentic.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2013.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451668728
Characteristics: x, 242 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. (some col.), ports. (some col.) ;,23 cm.


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Dec 09, 2018

Written before she was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and I would like to know more about what she has been going through with that, since she is no longer able to sing. A pleasure to read, though!

Jul 07, 2017

A little disappointed in this book. Lots about her childhood in the desert SW but big gaps when it comes to writing about her musical career. I thought she focused a bit much on her Broadway show Pirates of Penzance.

The book is called "A musical memoir" but it left out quite a bit about her musical life

Feb 07, 2017

Interesting commentary on her musical upbringing and the California rock origins. Amazing how all the lives of all those mighty talents intertwined. However, there's a much more objective and detailed book about that subject--wish I could remember the name of it. She really doesn't go into any personal detail---it's all about the music.

Jul 11, 2016

I have been a fan of Linda Ronstadt since I was a little girl, around the age of 8 or so. Her voice was so different, so full, so emotional- quite different of the pop singers of the time (around the early 90's). I loved her sweeping standards, her duets, even her spanish songs, of which I didn't understand a single word, but got her meaning anyways. I received this book as a gift, and was thrilled to get started learning about the life of one of my favorite singers. Since I didn't know much about her personal life, everything she talked about was new to me. For those who say that she doesn't go in depth enough, I agree. The chapters were too short, and it seemed as though she only talked about the parts of her life that she wanted to. Most of the book is focused on her early life and career, up until about the mid 70's. After that, it feels rushed and glossed over. She went directly from Cry Like a Rainstorm to the present (a gap of more than 25 years). I was looking for her to talk about my favorite album of hers, Winter Light, and she didn't even mention it. She did talk about her collaborations with Nelson Riddle, Aaron Neville (who I can't understand why anyone likes, because his singing voice is so strange and creepy) EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton and of course, The Stone Poneys. She also fails to go into depth about her romances. I can understand why, but she hardly mentions being involved with anyone, which I know is a total lie. She also doesn't explain why she lost her voice, and the struggle and heartbreak that went with it- that was a lost opportunity to flesh out the story.
On the whole, it is a fast, informational read, and it does leave you feeling good. Maybe it's because I've always held Linda in such high regard, and she's been a part of my life for so long- but I really wanted a little more.

rufus_red4 Jul 29, 2015

Though Linda Ronstadt resisted writing a memoir citing that she doesn't "have the gift", this is by far one of the best I've ever read. Her writing is energetic and vivid in the descriptions of her life in a loving musical family to hard working ascent to one of the most respected superstars to emerge in the music world. A must read.

universalPuppy Jun 12, 2014

I loved this book. Yes it may seem that she is a name dropper at times, and no, you do not get every little detail of what was happening in her personal life. But, she commuicates what makes her tick - family, music & good loyal friends. If you are only into Ms. Ronstadt, than this book may not be enough to satisfy your expectations, but if you love music whatever the genre, you will love this book. Some of the best passages are those where she describes music or picks out the earlier music that influenced a modern day musician/songwriter.

May 21, 2014

Disappointing. She has long been one of my favorite singers, but, in this book anyway, she comes across as being very shallow. Other than a few childhood stories (the pony stuff) at the beginning of the book, there is nothing revealing about the person at all. No personal information--only 2 times does she even mention that she has a son, her daughter gets a single sentence! The liner notes of any of her albums make for a more interesting read.

JCLMartyJ Feb 12, 2014

Wow, what an amazing life Linda Ronstadt has had! In a career that spans almost half a century, she has sung rock, opera, American standards with an orchestra, country, blues, and Mexican rancheras with a mariachi band!. Along the way she has performed, jammed, hung out and/or formed friendships with a range of musicians including Jim Morrison, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Rosemary Clooney - to name just a few.

This memoir is not particularly well-written and it doesn't reveal much personal information (like the names and ages of her children, her significant others, etc.) Instead, it focuses almost exclusively on her experiences as a singer and the development of her vocal talents and her appreciation of an ever-expanding range of music. I appreciated the fact that it’s not a “kiss-and-tell” and that she doesn’t attempt to “settle any scores”. (In fact, she goes to pains to portray most of the people mentioned in a positive light.) At the same time, it would have improved the book if she had provided more insight into herself as a person, not just as a musician.

ChristchurchLib Nov 19, 2013

"Singer Linda Ronstadt has led an amazingly normal life for someone so talented and successful. Recalling her childhood in Arizona and her family's musical heritage, her early singing work, her award-winning solo career, and her collaboration and friendships with such musicians as Rubén Fuentes, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris, Simple Dreams focuses on music and what it means to Ronstadt. She discusses her reasons for choosing different paths, some of which her friends considered too risky but most of which brought her personal satisfaction and popular and critical acclaim. This engaging and illuminating memoir will please fans of Ronstadt and anyone interested in contemporary music history." Biography and Memoir November 2013 newsletter

rowanquincy Oct 11, 2013

I almost gave up on this book as the beginning was so tedious - way too much on her childhood and pony. Once it got into her singing career it got more interesting and I liked the way she described how she approached her songs. Very little on the personal side, and a sparse read, only 200 pages. I expected more.


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Jan 21, 2014

Ahora que tienes guitarra, nunca tendras hambre.

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