Legendary songstress Linda Ronstadt may have recently announced that her singing career has come to an end due to complications from Parkinson's Disease, but that doesn't mean she's been silenced! The 67-year-old musician has plenty to say in her brand-new autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, which traverses her adventures over four decades in showbiz.
As one might imagine from a celeb who's hung out with everyone from Neil Young to George Lucas, Ronstadt's book contains plenty of insider's revelations; some more unexpected than others. You'll have to read the whole bio to get the full effect, of course, but we've cribbed three of the most interesting anecdotes to whet your appetite.
Jim Morrison may have been a poet, but he wasn't always a gentleman. Back in 1968, Ronstadt and her band the Stone Poneys scored a gig opening up for the Doors -- who were hot stuff due to their then-current hit "Light My Fire." Ronstadt describes the group's iconic frontman, Jim Morrison, as having a "troubling" stage presence, as well as a violent streak and (already well-documented) penchant for alcohol. One free evening on tour, when sober and acting "sweet and somewhat shy," Morrison asked Ronstadt if she'd like to hang out. Things started out well until a random stranger jumped out of a car and inexplicably punched Morrison in the face. Ronstadt bravely got between them before the fight got out of hand, but then was forced to watch a shaken-up Morrison promptly get drunk to steady his nerves.
The night ended with a belligerent Morrison following Ronstadt to her friends' house, where she was staying, and hammering on the windows and doors to be let in. Ronstadt was forced to use the security bolt to keep him out. and described Morrison's girlfriend as appearing "bruised from jaw to collarbone" the following afternoon.
Southerners aren't always known for their hospitality. The following year, Ronstadt, now performing as a solo artist, was booked on The Johnny Cash Show, a Nashville-based variety TV program put together by the Man in Black. The night before her scheduled rehearsal and taping, one of the show's producers called her hotel room and insisted on coming up to discuss her segment. Ronstadt, who was traveling alone, demurred, but finally allowed him in.
The producer entered and promptly took off every stitch of his clothing. Horrified ("he was hardly the Adonis of show business"), Ronstadt ordered him out, to which he first asked her if she was a "hippie" and "didn't hippies believe in free love?" When Ronstadt then threatened to call security, he nastily told her that nobody would believe a non-bra-wearing girl's story, and that she better keep her mouth shut about the incident.
What do Randy Newman, a Roy Rogers lunchbox, and a gun have in common? Well... In the '80s, Ronstadt was filming a TV special in New York with her good friend and fellow songwriter Randy Newman. On the way to lunch one day, a police officer ran by the pair of musicians, accidentally losing his gun out of its holster on the way. Ronstadt and Newman were left staring at a gun on the sidewalk, and after a brief argument about what to do with it (Newman suggested throwing it in a trash can; Ronstadt protested it might go off and kill the garbage collector), Ronstadt finally picked it up and imprudently wave it at two nearby police officers in a squad car.
Her intention was only to get their attention so she could hand over the weapon, but Newman -- not so imprudently -- draggged her out of sight and called her a "reckless moron." The two then decided to stash the gun in what was serving as Ronstadt's purse: A metal lunch box with a picture of Roy Rogers and Trigger on the lid. Once safely ensconced, the gun was then carefully and safely (if a bit dramatically) delivered to a police officer.
Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir was completed before the 11-time Grammy winner disclosed she had Parkinson's Disease, so the book does not contain any information about her current condition. Ronstadt is currently making appearances in support of the bio, most recently on "Good Morning America" Monday.