Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another voice silenced

There was some bad news on TV today.

Linda Ronstadt can't sing anymore. She's announced she has Parkinson's Disease. Seems the disease, which attacks the muscles, including those in one's throat, makes it impossible for the victim to sing. And she is having trouble getting around. Spending some time in a wheelchair.

Ah, well. That sucks.

I first heard of her by way of her first hit record, "Different Drum" (by The Stone Poneys "Featuring Linda Ronstadt" as it says on the label of the original 45 - which I have a copy of somewhere.) Her voice was wasted on the Stone Poneys and she soon went out on her own.

But I don't have to tell you that. You know her as a famous recording artist, Rock and Roll, Country, Pop. Even more.

I don't like her politics, and I didn't like her political rants at her concerts where people paid good money to hear her sing, not preach. But I sure liked her music.

And I will miss it now.

I remember being shocked when I saw her in a TV production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance". Shocked, because I always thought of her as a Rock and Roll singer and Rock and Roll singers don't sing opera. Linda sure did, though. Wow.

Why do I post this info about an American singer of Mexican heritage on my BritishSpeak blog, you ask? And well you might.

Because Mssrs. Gilbert and Sullivan were British. Doncha remember?

Here is Linda as Mable singing Poor Wandering One near the beginning of "Pirates."

Here is a related post I made a long time ago which also links to another "Pirates" clip with Mable and her many sisters, daughters all of the Modern Major General, and the cast, singing a reprise of "Wandering One" which segues into "Go Ye Heroes". So cool.

I love Gilbert and Sullivan, did I tell you? I love Pirates of Penzance. I loved Kevin Kline as the Pirate King. And Angela Lansbury...

Ah well.

Here's the pirates in "With Cat-Like tread" if you'd like to listen to it again. How could you not?


  1. My sister and I had all her albums. Very sad news.

    1. Very sad indeed. Thank you for stopping by, Kay.

  2. I liked Distant Drum.

    And I was, in the day, rather taken with Ms Ronstadt.
    Sad news.

    I had to listen to altogether too much Gilbert and Sullivan as a kid. My sister and mother both sang in various amateur productions. I think they had every recording ever made.

    I will never voluntarily listen to any G&S again.

    1. As I will never voluntarily listen to Richard Thompson. It takes all kinds, right? I hated Bluegrass growing up (and Country and anything else that wasn't Rock and Roll), but have taken a shine to it now. In rather small doses from time to time. :)

  3. Yes...that is sad news indeed; I thought similarly when I heard about it over the weekend. I loved "Different Drum"; and the music she made after that.

    I went to see Joan Baez live in concert in the Seventies; I'd been a fan of her singing since the early Sixties, but she really annoyed the hell out of me when I saw her in concert...she started sprouting forth her political views...and that wasn't what I'd paid for to go and see and hear. I even left before the concert was over...I was that annoyed...and disappointed. I knew she was a radical, but I went to hear her crystal voice...singing.

    1. Mike Nesmith wrote Different Drum.

      Nesmith earned his GED while in the Air Force.

      Nesmith's down and out mother trained herself to be a secretary and later invented a product called Liquid Paper and got very rich. Mike got a nice inheritance.

      Mike Nesmith was also famous for something else, but I can't remember what. :)

  4. That truly is sad news, she had such a great voice!

    1. Hi Frosty Girl. It is sad she can't sing anymore. I'm guessing she can still talk though. Sigh.



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