Hopefully New Linda Ronstadt Biopic Doesn’t Gloss Over Country Era

Linda Ronstadt has lived one of the most remarkable lives in music history, and it’s been one where she’s always put the music and her integrity first. When she could have recorded vapid pop songs to cash in on her popularity, she instead focused more on singer/songwriter stuff, or ran off and started a Mariachi band.

When everyone expected Ronstadt to zig, she would zag. She drove labels executives and business managers crazy. But she never let her fans down, and she always made sure to to be an artist first and an entertainer second.

There are few better subjects to make into a biopic than the life of Linda Ronstadt, and that’s what’s being done. Last week it was announced that a movie is currently in pre-production about Linda’s life. Her manager John Boylan, and James Keach who produced the 2019 documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice are working on the project as producers.

Selena Gomez has been cast to play Ronstadt, and David O. Russell has been named the director. As both an actor and a singer of Hispanic descent, Gomez seems like a smart pick for the leading role. Linda Ronstadt reportedly signed off personally on the Selena Gomez pick, and the two have hung out together and discussed the upcoming role. David O. Russell is known for directing award-winning films such as Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013).

The screenplay writers for the biopic have yet to be revealed, but one hopes that they don’t just gloss over or speed through Linda Ronstandt’s time in country music at the start of her career. This includes her years in the Stone Poneys, her debut solo album in 1969 Hand Sown…Home Grown, 1970’s Silk Purse that included cover songs of “Lovesick Blues” and “Mental Revenge,” and her 1972 self-titled album where she recorded “Crazy Arms” and “I Fall To Pieces.”

Linda Ronstadt wasn’t just a pop star in country. She paid her dues and accrued true country bonafides before moving on. “When Will I Be Loved” and “Blue Bayou” were #1 and #2 songs in country respectively. She later returned to country in the groundbreaking Trio project with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris in 1987, and then again with Trio II in 1999. The Trio project scored four Top 10 hits itself, including the #1 “To Know Him Is To Love Him.”

Linda Ronstadt won 11 Grammy Awards, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. After Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 (later clarified as the Parkinson’s-like disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy), rumors had her name also being considered for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

With all the success Ronstadt had in pop and rock, this is primarily how she is remembered in popular culture. But a quality biopic will hopefully establish that country is where she started, and where she found the initial support for her career to rise to the top.

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