I really had nothing to write last night, so rather than making something up, I watched the movie “LA LA Land.” It was cute…but I didn’t like the ending.
This morning, thanks to an email from my friend, Al, I’ve got something to share. It’s a Variety article about the movie showcasing the life of one of my idols, Linda Ronstadt. The movie is called “The Sound of My Voice,” a title that certain captures my attention as I hear the sound of my voice only through bubbles this week.
I’ve always had a deep admiration of Linda’s work. For a lot of years, I wanted to “be” her. She introduced me to Patsy Cline, Little Feat, Elvis Costello, The Eagles, Warron Zevon, Jackson Brown, Emmy Lou Harris, and Dolly Parton by covering their songs. When I was in junior high school, her album “Heart Like a Wheel” was one of the first albums from which I can remember purposely memorizing lyrics. This was back in the day when artists didn’t always post lyrics on album jackets. This resulted in me singing the wrong lyrics on “You’re No Good” and “Willin” for a few decades. Thanks to google, I don’t have to fudge lyrics anymore. Even today, Linda has an impact on me. My band, SQ3, has covered six of Linda’s covers over the course of the last 3 years, and we’re looking to add a seventh. Cool thing about doing Linda’s covers is we pay tribute to not one but at least two recording artists!
The article mentions that “Heatwave” by Detroit’s own Martha and the Vandellas is “for some reason — music rights?” not in the film. I have a theory about this based upon an encounter I had with Ms. Reeves. I was singing with a 9-piece R&B band a few years ago at a fundraiser. We had agreed that Martha would come up and sing “Dancin’ in the Street,” and just out of respect, the band decided to also include our cover of “Heatwave.” When I let the Motown star know our plan to perform “Heatwave,” she barked, “You can’t do that! That’s my song.” I was really taken aback, as I thought we were paying tribute. My theory: If she didn’t want me to sing her song in 2015, she’s probably still mad at Linda for so masterfully singing her song back in the 70’s.
I had the honor of seeing Linda on stage in the San Francisco Bay area last fall for her “Conversations with Linda” tour. She didn’t sing. She can’t sing. But it was a moving experience to be under the same roof as the woman who played such a big role in my musical journey. Thank you, Linda.