Rock You: Linda Ronstadt and me

“Queen of Rock” was the term used to describe Linda Ronstadt in the 70’s.  She has a documentary about her career out now. My husband and I went to see it this weekend.  I was surprised by how many actual clips from her concerts it included.  During her rock period, she sold out huge arenas all across America, just like the Rolling Stones and Elton John. Her backup band was all male because very few women played rock music in the 70’s, especially bass guitar and drums.   Some of her hits included, “Your No Good”, “Blue Bayou” and “I can’t help it.”

She gave up touring big arenas because she didn’t feel it was fair to the audience or the band. She thought the acoustics didn’t provide the right venue for the music and the travel isolated the performers. She went on to become one of America’s most an eclectic  female vocalists moving from rock to country, staring in Gilbert and Sullivan “Pirates of Penzance” on Broadway and releasing an award winning album sung entirely in Spanish.  She is now retired and suffering from Parkinson’s.  When we told my 20 year old daughter, we had been to Linda’s movie she said she’d never heard of her; demonstrating that fame is extremely ephemeral.

Linda was most frequently heard around our Boise home when my son, Scott was preschool age.  She had an album we listened to almost every night entitled, “Dedicated to the One I love”, a series of lullabies with one of my favorite songs being, “Be my Baby” .Album

Lullaby, and good night
In the sky stars are bright
Close your eyes, start to yawn
Pleasant dreams until the dawn

Close your eyes now and rest
Lay your head on my breast
Go to sleep now and rest
May your slumber be blessed

One day when Scott was about 3, he ran in the kitchen singing what sounded like “Fxxk You, Fxxk You”.  My husband immediately told him in no uncertain terms that was not something we would sing around our house.  Scott looked really confused and pointed at me and said, “But Mom sings it all the time.” Pete gave me a horrified look.  I finally got Scott to tell us where he learned the song and he ran over and got the “Be My Baby” CD from the stereo system.  He was actually singing “Rock You” from “We Will Rock You.”  He was right.  I did go around the house singing it all the time.

Scott, Annie our lab, and I during our “Rock Me” period

Linda Ronstadt may not be known to the younger generation.  But she will always hold a special place in my heart for being a female rock and roll star in my twenties, my party years and giving us one of our favorite family stories. “ROCK YOU.”

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