Heartbreak On Wheels

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Here's Ben Fong-Torres' 1975 Rolling Stone cover story on Linda Ronstadt:

"I always felt I fell in love with people for neurotic reasons, said Linda. "It's nice to like someone who is nice to you for a change."

She likes Albert Brooks, the comedian. For once, she is not in competition with a musician / boyfriend. Based on eight months together, Ronstadt says it's too hard to tell about him. "But he's the nicest person I've known." At a hotel in Los Angeles, after an interview, she called him to let him know she was on her way home. She baby talked to him, asking if he was smiling, even though he'd been up all night working on his album and fighting with engineers. And even though he and Linda weren't on the best terms. "I'll make you smile," she cooed into the phone.

Linda doesn't talk much about her love life, but from the songs she has chosen to sing and the stories she has told about her frustrations, I began to toy with the word "heartbreak" for her story. I told her this in Hawaii and she perked up.

"I've been heartbroken a lot," she said. "That's a key word. It's like that John David song- 'Faithless love, where did I go wrong / Was it telling stories in a heartbreak song . . . '

"When you choose to become a singer and sing about stuff like that, it means you choose a life like that. It naturally means it'll be overbalanced in areas that don't contribute to emotional security and continuity with anyone. It contributes to an overall person who is more paranoid and volatile; you have to stay sensitive and more vulnerable in that way and things change so fast; people like you for such strange reasons, for such untrustworthy reasons, that pretty soon you don't know who to believe or trust.

"The weirdest things make me fall in love. Usually, it's whatever I happen to be missing right at the moment. I can have a guy I'm in love with who has everything but one thing; then the next guy I meet has a whole lot of that one thing and I go, 'Oh, I'm in love with him,' but he hasn't got any of the other things. So it's usually very illusory." Ronstadt emphasizes the ill.

[Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz]