Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Linda Ronstadt

Rock & Roll Books

Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir

by Linda Ronstadt
Simon & Schuster, 256 pp, $26

Historical accounts of the Seventies L.A. rock milieu emphasize the scene's ego and excess, but Linda Ronstadt's autobiography lives up to its subtitle, focusing upon the singer's eventful musical life rather than the romances that made her tabloid fodder. Although she discreetly addresses her relationships with Jerry Brown and J.D. Souther, Simple Dreams' momentum derives from Ronstadt's artistic arc, her warmth and eloquence as a storyteller making for an engaging ride. She's astute and forthright assessing her recorded output, offering considerable insight into her motivations and insecurities. Moreover, accounts of her childhood and musical awakening – a weak spot of musicians' autobiographies – are particularly vivid and affecting, shedding light on the riskier musical choices she made after achieving stardom. Channeling its narrator's keen intelligence, creative curiosity, and self-effacing humor, Simple Dreams will likely leave readers reaching for a Linda Ronstadt disc.

More Linda Ronstadt
Simple Man, Simple Dream
Simple Man, Simple Dream
From Amarillo to Southern California and now Nashville, J.D. Souther dresses wounds like a poet

William Harries Graham, Oct. 16, 2015

Jesse Hercules Taylor
Jesse Hercules Taylor
Words and images to preserve Jesse 'Guitar' Taylor

Raoul Hernandez, March 31, 2006

More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Scott Schinder
Music DVDs
The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark

Dec. 19, 2014

Box Sets
Bob Dylan & The Band
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Record Review)

Dec. 12, 2014


Linda Ronstadt, Governor Jerry Brown, gift guide 2013, J.D. Souther

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)