Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Song Selection - You're No Good

“I learned my lesson, it left a scar
Now I see how you really are”

The time: 1975. The place: my suburban, adolescent bedroom (no worries, as always today’s entry shall remain family friendly.) The event: the meticulous hanging and displaying of a new, Spencer Gifts-purchased, Linda Ronstadt poster. And so, on this memorable and momentous occasion, one boy inches ever so closer to becoming a young man as his Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Tom Seaver and Joe Namath images adjust to sharing precious wall acreage with luminaries of the fairer sex.

Today, on Saturday Song Selection, we salute a name that seems from the far distant past - from a simpler and forgotten time when one had to arise from the couch to actually physically switch the television’s channel changer to choose between the vast, limitless, immeasurable 10 stations at our disposal (studies now prove that this was one of the primary factors behind the elevated birth rate of this period - the renowned “baby boom“- procreation peaked as children were needed to serve as living, organic remote controls.) It was a time when bell bottoms were worn, and without hipster, Williamsburg-implied irony; a time when Sarah Palin was a slip of a lass just beginning to sneak cigarettes, sips of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine and innocent busses beneath the bleachers, and not a time when she was setting out to destroy the greatest republic the world has ever known. And it was a time when Linda Ronstadt was one of the most successful singers, leading lights and biggest stars in the music industry (yes, even a time when there was a thriving music industry.) Yet, when do you last recall hearing Linda Ronstadt’s name spoken of, seeing it in print or even stumbling accidentally upon it in some vaguely related internet search that, rather, somehow inevitably led to a semi-clad Kardashian, a cute cat clip or the most recently released photo of the most private of parts of whomever happens to be the current congressman caught in carnal contortions. I, myself, must guiltily admit that my Linda Ronstadt collection did not make the transition to compact disc. When I yearn for a little “Prisoner in Disguise,” or “When Will I Be Loved,“ or the classic “Different Drum.“ I’m still moistening up the discwasher pad, dusting off the vinyl and enjoying those timeless sounds at the warmth of 33 and 1/3 rpms.

Linda Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt, where for art thou Linda Ronstadt? You owned my heart in my teen years, can I not still enjoy your talent as I rapidly approach an age when I think of the gang on the “McLaughlin Group” as a bunch of swell kids; when I pause the Cialis promos in order to jot down essential and germane particulars (what’s that again about 4 hours?) and when I wish I had a staircase just so I could be conveyed from floor to floor propelled by a mechanized chair?

Where is Linda Ronstadt? What is Linda Ronstadt up to? Why isn’t she touring? How many times can I annoy you with lists of queries and frequent repetitions of Ronstadt’s name? Many from her same era are still very actively involved in live performing. Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks are ubiquitous. Some assemblage of older gentlemen calling themselves the Doobie Brothers are serenading crowds. As are Daryl Hall and the other guy, Crosby and Nash, a pair of Paul’s (Simon and McCartney), even the Monkees have reunited for concerts - and Linda had a big hit with a Mike Nesmith composition. It’s in the cards. It’s meant to be. The stars are aligned. Ronstadt should return.

For those of you whose faces contort, fraught with perplexity and confusion, upon the mere mention of the year 1975; and whose minds conjure up thoughts of the Pleistocene epoch, the invention of moveable type or the halcyon days of the Norse Gods of Mount Olympus - a little factual, pertinent information about Ms. Ronstadt.

Linda Ronstadt is the recipient of 10 Grammy Awards, 2 Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award (yes, I am as unfamiliar with that one as you are), numerous gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums; in addition to Tony Award and Golden Globe nominations. She has charted 38 Billboard Hot 100 singles, 21 of which have reached the top 40, 10 of which have reached the top 10, 3 peaking at No. 2, and a No. 1 hit with the song that I’m sharing with you today, "You're No Good.“ Ronstadt was also the first female "arena class" rock star, setting records as one of the top-grossing concert artists culminated in being voted the Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s. Additionally, her exceptionally pleasing visage graced the cover of “Rolling Stone” six times, with appearances on "Newsweek" and "Time" as well.

One last note - with all that being said, not only is Linda Ronstadt not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but she’s never even been nominated for induction. For shame, you old corporate hippies!

Saturday, June 11th Birthdays -

1937 Johnny Brown - What have we established previously? Laugh-In is sacrosanct; he was on Laugh-In - although he’s probably best remembered for playing Bookman on “Good Times.”

1936 Chad Everett - Longtime star of the TV series “Medical Center,” but really, I just wanted to show the hair. He also gets some minor props for his role in “Airplane II.”

1935 Gene Wilder - What’s to say - “Bonnie and Clyde,“ “The Producers,“ “Willy Wonka…,“ “Young Frankenstein,“ “Silver Streak,” shall I go on? An all-time great, and by all accounts a good guy and devoted husband to the wonderful Gilda Radner.

1933 Jud Strunk - Laugh-In representative number 2, prominently featured in the upcoming PBS pledge break documentary, “Laugh-In: The Lean Years.”

1930 Representative Charles B. Rangel - Who made news just today by coming to the defense of Anthony Weiner, and if Charles Manson or Kim Jong Il are unavailable, he’s just the guy you want watching your back.

1910 Jacques Yves Cousteau - ¿Quién es más macho, Jacques Cousteau o Ricardo Montalban? Jacques Cousteau es más macho,

1889 Wesley Ruggles - He was an actor/producer/director with the Keystone Kops and I just think that’s kind of cool, plus I would imagine it’s the only Keystone Kops reference you’re likely to read for years.

Finally, Freema Agyeman - I haven’t a clue if it’s her birthday or not - I’m currently enjoying Law & Order: UK, she’s in it and I’m smitten. And that’s good enough for me. Sorry Linda.
As I fear this posting has deteriorated into “Nycityman, his Hormones and You,“ let's just let Linda take it away with, “You’re No Good.”

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