Saturday, June 17, 2017

Song #7: "What's New?"--Linda Ronstadt (1983)

Released in 1983, I would not be exposed to this song until two years later when I began my first professional radio job, spinning "The Music Of Your Life" on WUHN-AM in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The career of Linda Ronstadt was absolutely amazing. Found as a folk singer with a touch of blues, country and rock abilities, she spent the decade of the 1970's releasing album after album after album of incredible music, with so many different styles of music, the tapestry of that library held together by Ronstadt's unbelievable voice. She also helped launch the career of a little group known as "Eagles".  :)

I personally feel that, if there were a "Mount Rushmore" of female vocalists of the Twentieth Century, one of the positions has to be occupied by Linda Ronstadt.

So, three years after her "Mad Love" release, what does Ronstadt do? She gets together with the legendary Nelson Riddle, whom you might know best as the creator of the theme from the television series "Batman", and begins work on a trilogy of albums of adult standards music. To some, it's "Big Band". She immediately received major airplay with "Music Of Your Life" stations across the country. MOYL was, and still is online, a radio format available to stations that featured the best music from the 1930's to 1950's, reaching an older demographic, much like 1980's oldies stations do today.

There were several Ronstadt songs from her trilogy in rotation when I arrived at WUHN, and one song immediately stood out.

This song is the epitome of someone's lament over the love you never had. Whether it was because the two of you drifted apart, either by circumstances beyond your control, or by choice, or it was love that one person felt for the other, but it was not reciprocated, or for whatever other reason, no other song that I've ever heard captures the immense, and intense feeling, aching of lost love like this one.

If you've never heard this song, originally written in 1938 as an instrumental number, then Johnny Burke's lyrics were added a year later, you need to. Positioned as a one-sided conversation when former lovers happen to cross paths (which didn't happen nearly as much back in 1983 as opposed to our social media age of today), it begins innocently, and, by the time, Ronstadt belts out the final line, "I still love you so", near the end, the tears are flowing.

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