Despite having recorded over two dozen acclaimed studio albums on labels including Capitol, Asylum, Elektra, and Verve, Linda Ronstadt never got around to releasing a live album. Happily, Rhino Records is rectifying that with the February 1 release on CD, LP, and digital platforms of Live in Hollywood from the legendary songstress.
Live in Hollywood was recorded on April 24, 1980 at Television Center Studios in Hollywood for an HBO special in which she was accompanied by a top-tier band that included guitarists Kenny Edwards and Danny Kortchmar, drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Bob Glaub, keyboardist Billy Payne (of Little Feat), pedal steel guitarist Dan Dugmore, and backing vocalist Wendy Waldman. None other than Ronstadt’s producer (and the TV concert’s executive producer) Peter Asher sat in with the group on percussion and background vocals.
During the course of the evening, Ronstadt performed a number of her most famous songs including “It’s So Easy,” “Just One Look,” “You’re No Good,” “Desperado,” and “Blue Bayou,” as well as selections from her new wave-inspired Mad Love, which had just been released in February 1980. Her interpretations of “I Can’t Let Go,” “How Do I Make You,” and “Hurt So Bad” all reached the top ten. Songwriter pals like Warren Zevon (“Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”), Don Henley and Glenn Frey (“Desperado”), Lowell George (“Willin'”), and J.D. Souther (“Faithless Love”) were all represented.
The live album has been produced by Ronstadt’s longtime associate John Boylan. Rhino quotes him in the press release recalling that the album almost didn’t happen because HBO, Ronstadt, and her record label couldn’t find the master tapes. An encounter with a Warner Bros. engineer at their sons’ hockey practice finally led him to the tapes: “I have no way of calculating the odds of finding the lost tapes through a chance encounter at a hockey practice, but they must be astronomical – like winning the lottery. And in this case of remarkable serendipity, every Linda Ronstadt fan is a lottery winner.”
Sequenced in the style of a period LP rather than a modern-day CD, Live in Hollywood features twelve tracks selected by the artist from the concert rather than the complete 20-song show. (Three of those tracks have been previously released.) Fans can stream “Just One Look” now. This thrilling slice of Ronstadt and her crack band rocking L.A. in high style is due on February 1 from Rhino. It can be pre-ordered at the links below!
Linda Ronstadt, Live in Hollywood (Rhino, 2018)
- I Can’t Let Go
- It’s So Easy (*)
- Just One Look
- Blue Bayou (*)
- Faithless Love
- Hurt So Bad
- Poor, Poor Pitiful Me (*)
- You’re No Good
- How Do I Make You
- Back in the U.S.A.
All tracks previously unreleased except (*)