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Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 17. September 2013

5.0 von 5 Sternen 2 Kundenrezensionen

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“Engaging and interesting. . . . entirely winning.” (Jonathan Yardley Washington Post)

“True to her subtitle, Ms. Ronstadt delivers a life story stitched to the sails of her eclectic musical voyaging. . . . She has found another way to tell a story: through this winning and informative book, in which her intelligence, passion, humor and commitment shine forth from every page.” (Tom Nolan Wall Street Journal)

“For anyone fascinated by the cross-pollination of musical talent in Los Angeles' buzzing pre-corporate rock scene, Ronstadt's front-row seat offers a prime view. . . . While this bird can no longer sing, on the page she can still fly.” (USA Today)

"Ronstadt revisits, with a mixture of fine-grained insight and personal modesty, one of the most remarkable and wide-ranging singing careers in the last century of American popular music." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Musical memories galore." (Boston Globe)

“A personable and engagingly written memoir… consistently interesting.” (Kirkus)

“A well-written glimpse into musical history as it was being made by Ronstadt and her peers.” (Publishers Weekly)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Linda Ronstadt has received twelve Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and one Emmy Award, as well as several Tony and Golden Globe nominations. She lives in San Francisco with her family.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Eine der bedeutendsten Stimmen aus den 70er und 80er Jahren ist leider infolge Krankheit verstummt. Sie beschreibt unterhaltsam und eloquent ihr Leben. Dabei bleibt sie erfrischend bodenständig und hinsichtlich verunglückter Versuche (Oper) entwaffnend ehrlich. Erfreuliche Lektüre, die einen motiviert, alle Aufnahmen von ihr erneut anzuhören, wobei auffällt, dass sie konkurrenzlos geblieben ist.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is a great biography but also a wonderful documentary of this talented and gifted singer's career and life.

She also pays tribute to many of her colleagues which inspired me to spend hours listening to forgotten as well as unknown (to me) singers and musicians.

Thank you Ms Ronstadt for sharing so much over all these years - what a generous and wonderful, wonderful performer and artist. I'm a fan forever.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen 565 Rezensionen
285 von 320 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Huge Disappointment 26. September 2013
Von Tom L. Huffman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I can't help but think that the many positive reviews I read here are written by people who have confused their admiration for Linda as a performer and as a person with the quality of her memoir. I am about as enthusiastic Linda Ronstadt fan as you'll find, but this book is frankly awful.

The main problem is that it is just shallow and strangely silent about the music during Linda's peak popularity in the mid 1970s. John Lennon once complained that George Harrison wrote a memoir (I Me Mine) that never mentioned him once. This book is like that. It is as though she intentionally ignores the very aspect of her career that made her so successful. Interested in Andrew Gold's collaboration with Linda? Go elsewhere. He is mentioned in passing only a couple of times. How about Linda's recordings of Karla Bonhoff tunes? Nope. She is mentioned once or twice, again only in passing. In fact the book skips from her last Capital record--and the album that made her a star--Heart Like a Wheel to her wanting to work in Pirates of Penzance. Prisoner in Disguise, Hasten Down the Wind, Simple Dreams, Living in the USA, and Mad Love (all platinum, some multiple platinum) are simply ignored as though they never existed. Just look at the (chronological) chapters:

10. Heart Like a Wheel
11. Malibu
12. Getting Restless
13. Meeting Joe Papp

Heart Like a Wheel is 3 pages long. Three pages! You'd get more detail in a Rolling Stone article. Malibu is about moving to the beach after having financial security for the first time. Getting Restless (six pages!) is about the boredom she felt on tour playing large venues. That's about all she has to say about the years from 1974-1978.

If she wants to write a musical memoir that mostly avoids discussion of her personal life, that's fine with me, but then she really needs to discuss her music in more depth and with more specificity. In but one example of the truly bizarre focus of the book, she spends several pages discussing in detail an incident that occurred while she was touring with Neil Young in which Young's piano player got drunk and became abusive with her. It is an interesting anecdote, but you spend three pages discussing this but say nothing in this "musical memoir" about your collaboration with JD Souther on songs like Faithless Love and Prisoner in Disguise?

In fact the really weird thing about this book is that you get a much better sense of who Linda was and is as a person than you do about what she thought about her music. On that front I agree that she comes off as a very likable, down-to-earth person. My mother is likable and down-to-earth, but she has no business writing a book.

There are some redeeming qualities. She does a fairly good job of describing the very early days in the Troubadour where so many now-famous artists created music together and essentially invented the Southern California country rock movement. She gives a reasonable amount of attention to Jackson Browne, Glen Frey and Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, Peter Asher, Aaron Neville, and a few others.

Unfortunately, she apparently views with distaste that part of her career that made her so appealing for many of us.

Edit (06-19-2014): Looking at the spread of reviews on this book, I am struck by how corrupted the Amazon customer review process has become. 67% of the published "customer reviews" give Simple Dreams 4 or 5 stars. It is simply not possible that this represents an honest sampling of customer response to this book. A lot of these people are paid stringers who contribute solely for the purpose of enhancing the book's sales. To sample this hypothesis I commented on one of the 5 star reviews by basically saying that the author must be crazy or didn't read the same book I did. He didn't even respond. Also, among the now 89 people who have responded to my original very negative review of a memoir by a singer I absolutely loved in the 1970s (I still love this music), not a single one has seriously objected to my negative assessment of this dreadful book.

Edit (7-16-2016) From a separate review I posted, which I thought was important enough to include in the original.
I am taking the unusual step of commenting on my own review. I do this because USA Today had a longish article on and interview with Linda yesterday. The occasion is her upcoming (ironic) induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the release of a new compilation album.


In it she confirms what I had suspected about her attitudes towards her own music. Quoting from the article, "Ronstadt makes it clear that she doesn't consider most of her early work to be that good."
"I'm grateful but it is astounding to me that people like" the early hits such as You're No Good or Blue Bayou, she says."

This explains why her memoir reads the way it does. She doesn't think much of her career as one of the founding members of the Southern California country rock movement in the 1970s, so she apparently assumes we don't think much of it either. Whatever other talents Ms Ronstadt possesses, self-awareness is not one of them. She honestly doesn't seem to appreciate the fact that the only reason that she ever got the opportunity to record successful standards with Nelson Riddle or Mexican folk songs is that she was an established popular music star precisely because of songs like You're No Good and Blue Bayou. Absent those, she wouldn't have gotten a book deal for her memoir and USA Today certainly wouldn't be doing a profile of her.

Furthermore, I am not even sure she is being entirely honest with us or even maybe herself about this. She was recording rock music as late as the mid-1990s. Feels Like Home is a pretty good album and her cover of Tom Petty's The Waiting is excellent. If she has such disdain for her contributions to rock/pop, why did she continue recording in that genre? Some of what she says in the USA Today article just reads like false modesty.

One other interesting and sad take away from the article is that her health is much worse than at least I thought it was. It is not just that she can't sing anymore. She also really can't travel and she spends at least some of her time in a wheelchair.

Despite the fact that the universe of Linda Ronstadt fans apparently does not include Linda Ronstadt, here is a good example of the music she thinks so little of now. That woman has very poor taste.

63 von 72 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen On the Road With Linda Ronstadt 17. September 2013
Von takingadayoff - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I've been on a memoir kick lately -- Penny Marshall, Debbie Reynolds, Garry Marshall, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, Marlo Thomas. A little gossip, a little show business history, some behind the scenes insight, they're fun and they usually don't leave much of an impression. I don't know how much of Linda Ronstadt's memoir I'll remember, but it is the best show business memoir I've read so far.

Ronstadt's writing style is simple and direct. It's a pleasure to read. She wrote the book without a co-writer, and avoided the common traps of first time writers, such as self-consciously trying to write lovely sentences. She just tells her story.

This is truly a musical memoir -- she includes little that doesn't have to do with making music. There are no shocking revelations and it seems that she has remained friends with every man she ever had a long-term relationship with. She writes of friendships and roots and above all, music. The only stories that show people in an unfavorable light are about Jim Morrison's threatening behavior and one or two others in the same vein.

She goes into detail about the decisions she made about trying different types of music and how it was often a fight, since once people have you categorized, they don't like you to change, when it comes to music or almost anything else for that matter.

In her book, Ronstadt says that she's retired from singing now, though that seemed hard to believe when I first read it. The interview and article in AARP online revealed that she says she has Parkinson's Disease and leaves her unable to sing. An article in the New York Times also mentioned some pretty heavy drug use in her past, which she glossed over in the book. In any case, she certainly has a good start at making writing a second career.

(Thanks to Edelweiss for a digital review copy.)
84 von 99 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen It's All About The Music. 17. September 2013
Von Someone Else - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I've been in love with Linda Ronstadt's voice since I first heard her belt out "You're No Good" through the earpiece of my transistor radio back in junior high. After reading this memoir, I've fallen in love with Linda as a person. What a gracious, level-headed, gentle, modest lady she is. And if she didn't already have enough talents, we can now add writing to her list of creative abilities. The entire book has a mellow vibe. Even the unpleasant events are related with equanimity and with generosity toward those who wronged her.

The subtitle of the book is "a musical memoir," and she does limit what she shares about her personal life. This is not an autobiography in the traditional sense of the word. After the opening chapters about her upbringing in Arizona, the rest of her story stays focused on the evolution of her musical career.

Linda doesn't dish a lot about the people who have shared her life. There are only two brief mentions of Jerry Brown, with whom she had a highly publicized relationship. Likewise, there are only a few sentences about her children, and she never uses their names. Everything else is about the music, but there are plenty of entertaining and unsettling stories to keep things lively.

The seeds of Linda's musical versatility are rooted in her childhood, where the various generations of her family enjoyed everything from classical to mariachi music. Her huge success came from a combination of talent, flexibility, and being in all the right places in an era when country, rock, and folk music were merging and evolving into something new.

She always returned to her roots when deciding on a new musical project. From Pirates of Penzance to great American standards to songs in Spanish, she writes "the music I heard...before I was ten provided me with material to explore for my entire career."

This is a memoir without a lot of fluff, coming in at less than 300 pages. Highly recommended for her fans, as well as anyone interested in the American music scene from the '60s and '70s all the way up until she retired in 2009.

Rating = 4.5 stars
36 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Somewhat Limited 19. September 2013
Von Jerry - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The title states it clearly - this is a musical memoir and not a full autobiography. Therefore, a lot of things were left out because they were not strictly speaking, musical. For example, George Lucas was not even mentioned, although she had a relationship with him that was not related to her musical career. Likewise, not much about her raising two kids, her occasional political activism, etc.

If you are interested in what she thought about the music she was performing at any point, there is information of that sort throughout the book. If you are looking for dirt or kiss-and-tell, it is not here (which is OK with me).

The writing is ok, clearly her own and not a ghost writer. It is pretty simply stated without a lot of gush or attempts to be 'writerly".

It was a quick read, enjoyable if somewhat limited in its scope.
25 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen A Piece of Fluff. 2. Oktober 2013
Von R.Scott Boundy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I love Linda Ronstadt and purchased this book the day it was released. I had been anticipating its release for about 3 months. I was very disappointed. The book is very short, four hundred kindle pages. There is virtually no detail of anything. If you are looking for a breakdown and backstory for each record or song forget it, some records get no mention (Hasten Down The Wind), while others get a cursory mention. Her personal life will remain personal, which is fine but then why write a "memoir". In light of the recent bad news about her health I feel bad for her and I feel bad writing a negative review, but this book can Hasten Down the Wind. Go buy one of her incredible records instead.
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