Coming off a no. 1 charting album in ’77, the pressure is on to follow up, and Linda Ronstadt did just that. On September 19th, 1978, Linda Ronstadt released her 9th studio album “Living In The USA.” With her 4 prior albums each reaching platinum status and peaking within the top 4 on the Billboard 200, Ronstadt would once again reach platinum status, and have a third studio album soon reach no. 1 on the Billboard 200. In fact, fans were so anxious for its release, that the pre-orders popularized the album before September 19th even came around!
“Living In The USA” marked her last studio album of the 70s before she would release “Mad Love” in 1980. After 9 studio albums, and 3 compilation albums to finish off the 70s, Ronstadt lived up to her nickname ‘The First Lady of Rock,’ and proved to be one of the most popular female artists of her time.
Three songs from this album found their way on the Billboard Hot 100. They are “Ooh Baby Baby” peaking at 7, “Back in the USA” at 16, and “Just One Look” at 44.
Ronstadt’s outfit design for this album is also fitting to the late 70s into the 80s. This is a time period when roller skating was popular. By looking at her outfit you see the roller skates, long socks, knee pads, workout style shorts and shirt, and a jacket. I wouldn’t be surprised if just the rollerskating outfit on Ronstadt alone, influenced a few people to go roller skating, or even just to check out the music on the album.
Some of my personal favorites from this album are “Mohammed’s Radio,” “When I Grow Too Old To Dream,” “Just One Look,” and “Blowing Away.”
“Everybody’s restless, trying to make ends meet. Work all day, still can’t pay, the price of gasoline.” Whether it’s the original writer of “Mohammed’s Radio” Warren Zevon, belting out these words, or Linda Ronstadt, that line is important to the song. What is enjoyable about this song is that it’s lyrics tell you a story of people who are restless, and an unregulated rock n roll radio station by a man named Mohammed. These restless people are looking to Mohammed’s rock n roll radio station to forget about their problems. As my tagline says “Music is Medicine,” so A+ to Zevon for originally composing the song, and Ronstadt for covering it.
On “Mohammed’s Radio,” the well known session musician Waddy Wachtel, is on guitar for both Zevon’s and Ronstadt’s version of the song. This album also marks Ronstadt’s fourth Zevon song she has recorded. Prior to this album she recorded “Hasten Down The Wind,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” and “Carmelita.” These four songs are all from Zevon’s self titled album.
“Just One Look,” now this dance floor worthy song is deserving of its peak at 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. The rhythm of the song simply makes it a ‘head-bopping‘ tune, that is also easy to sing along to. The mellow yet lively piano sound is also a fine point.
There’s a good reason why “When I Grow Too Old To Dream” must be highlighted, and that’s because it is a prime example of the capability Ronstadt’s voice has to blow the roof off of a building. The video below is from an episode of “The Muppet Show.”
Video of Linda Ronstadt and The Muppets singing “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” Ronstadt hits her high notes at the 2:20 mark.
The chorus in “Blowing Away,” and Ronstadt’s voice will certainly blow you away, and be making sure the listener is paying attention.
“I’m blowin’ away
And shadows take my love and leave
I’m blowin’ away
These shadows keep takin’ my love and leavin’ me”
– Chorus in “Blowing Away”
Linda Ronstadt’s recording of “Blowing Away”
Whether you lived in the USA, or anywhere else, Linda Ronstadt gave you her last look at the 70s before turning the page into the 80s.
(Photos of the album)
– Below: The 10 album tracks
- “Back in the USA” by Chuck Berry
- “When I Grow Too Old To Dream” by Oscar Hammerstein II and Sigmund Romberg
- “Just One Look” by Gregory Carroll and Doris Payne
- “Alison” by Elvis Costello
- “White Rythm & Blues” by J.D. Souther
- “All That You Dream” by Paul Barrere, and Bill Payne
- “Ooh Baby Baby” by William Robinson, and Warren Moore
- “Mohammed’s Radio” by Warren Zevon
- “Blowing Away” by Eric Kaz
- “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, and Vera Matson