‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice’ Review: And What a Voice It Is ~ New York Times

The career of a vocalist who sang every kind of song that’s ever been made.

Credit Greenwich Entertainment
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Documentary

If you were listening to the radio in the mid-1970s — AM or FM; pop, country, R&B or AOR — at some point you were probably listening to Linda Ronstadt.

Kids these days, with their curated playlists and SoundCloud streams, may not understand what it was like back then. A lot of music was never heard on the radio at all, while certain songs and artists made up a communal soundtrack that transcended genre and individual taste. Maybe you thought Ronstadt’s chart-topping cover of “You’re No Good” wasn’t all that great, but its organ riff and declamatory chorus probably settled into your ears anyway, and more than 40 years later you’re likely to remember it as a classic.

Ronstadt was an unavoidable presence — not only on the airwaves but also on television talk shows and magazine covers. (Those things were also a much bigger deal back then, but I’ll stop with the Gen-X Grandpa Simpson routine.) She didn’t write her own songs, but she owned the ones she performed with rare authority. In “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” a new documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, someone uses the word “auteur” to describe Ronstadt’s relationship to her material, and it doesn’t seem exaggerated. Her versions of songs by Warren Zevon, Lowell George and Kate and Anna McGarrigle (to name just a few) still sound definitive.

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