Upon hearing the sad news that Parkinson’s Disease has stolen her singing voice, my life of loving Linda Ronstadt flashed before my eyes. Growing up, she turned me on to everything from Motown, to Mariachi, Pasty Cline, the great American songbook, and more. Her torchy, country-rock interpretations – always tinged with depression and vulnerability – spoke to this sensitive little gay boy. I spent hours alone in my bedroom, my head an inch from the speakers, belting out the songs right along with her. I saw her in concert (my first) on my 18th birthday. When I auditioned for my college a capella group, I sang her version of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” By senior year, my big solo number – that made grown men weep – was “Desperado” ala Linda. I met her once, several years ago backstage at a big charity event. I didn’t play it Hollywood cool. She was one of my true idols. Knowing that all stars HATE to hear “I’ve loved you since I was a kid” I got down on one knee (she was already seated) and confessed, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t sing a Linda Ronstadt song in the shower.” And that was the truth. Thankfully, she did not call security. Instead she smiled and made an “awwwwwww”-like sound and introduced me to her friend. ¡Que Linda! Oh, and lest any of us forget, in the ’70s Miss Ronstadt was a sex symbol, and I had the posters to prove it.
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