Finding Thriller Influences in … Linda Ronstadt?
I get asked occasionally why I write about strong female characters. And the most obvious reason is that I was influenced by great writers early who specialize in female protagonists.
But I have to say: I remember a summer when I was 15, working at a summer job as listening to Linda Rondstadt’s “Different Drum.” Which contained the lyric:
I ain’t saying you ain’t pretty
All I’m saying is I’m not ready
For any person place or thing
To try and pull the reins in on me
So good-bye I’ll be leaving
I see no sense in this crying and grieving
We’ll both live a lot longer
If you live without me.
I was 15, remember. I recall thinking: Wait, wait … the girl in this scenario is saying that to the boy? Is that okay? Can girls be the ones to make those calls?
Talk about traveling to the beat of a different drum.
Sounds stupid today, I know. But you’re 15 and you’re thinking about dialog and trying to figure out how to write, and a lyric like that makes you think about the direction of dialog. And about who can hold the reins in a relationship. It’s a little thing. But not unimportant. To this day, that remains one of my favorite lyrics in all of the American songbook.
Today, it was announced that Linda Ronstadt has been nominated to the 2014 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.