Filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman dug up vintage footage of a young Linda Ronstadt for their just-released documentary “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”
The clips show a vibrant and enthusiastic singer in the 1960s, decades before Parkinson’s disease silenced her voice and limited her mobility, belting out rock tunes in packed arenas and on TV.
But if you ask Ronstadt about those old clips, you will hear her cringe.
“I can’t bear to look at any of that,” she says. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to sing. … It took me a long time to get where I could sing well.”
The Tucson native released 24 studio albums, was nominated for 30 Grammys and took home 13, and sold more than 100 million albums in a 40-year career that transcended pop, country, folk, opera, the Great American Songbook and Mexican folk songs — but she says it took her years before she felt comfortable in her voice.
“I don’t like a lot of the stuff I recorded in the past,” said Ronstadt, 73, during a phone call from her San Francisco home last week.
“The Sound of My Voice,” which opened in theaters nationwide last Friday and opens at the Loft Cinema on Friday, Sept. 13, recounts the full breadth of Ronstadt’s career, from the time she left Tucson for Los Angeles when she was barely 18 to her fairly fast rise from small clubs to record deals and record books as the most successful female artist of her generation.