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Linda Ronstadt: “Blue Bayou”

Editor’s Note: The Daily Music Break periodically re-posts music from earlier in the site’s run. This post originally appeared, by great coincidence, exactly two years ago today. It’s just the best. (Home page photo: Craig Howell

It doesn’t get much better than this, in my opinion. Before the days of instantaneous music gratification, I would drop whatever I was doing and listen when Blue Bayou came on the radio. In fact, I purposely didn’t buy the album because it was such a treat when I heard the song by accident.

Rondstadt rose to fame with the Stone Poneys. I’m not sure which of her big hits — which include “Heatwave,” “You’re No Good,” It’s So Easy and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” — were made with the band. Ronstadt later teamed with Nelson Riddle, a big band jazz arranger and conductor who worked with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and a who’s who list of other singers.

Several sites are dedicated to Ronstadt. Two are here and here.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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