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.

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

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