This weekend we watched the new Linda Ronstadt documentary, The Sound Of My Voice, which you can rent now on Amazon.
I have always loved Linda’s album Heart Like A Wheel and one song that stands out is Willin’. How did Linda come to record a song written by Lowell George about truckers?
The documentary does a great job explaining the wide musical influences that Linda grew up with. All of these influences helped her choose songs to record that varied in genre and style.
I selfishly hoped there would be an entire explanation devoted to just Willin’ as I find it interesting that she recorded the song as is and did not change the sexes in the song from a man’s point of view to a female’s.
Lowell would record the song twice for his band, Little Feat. I’ve always preferred the first version on their classic debut LP.
Here’s the 1971 version from their album, Sailin’ Shoes…
Linda has the genius to know how to take a song and make it her own. There’s a great line in the documentary from Dolly Parton where she explains that once Linda covered a song, it was hers forever, no one could top it. I agree.
How she could take a song about a truck driver getting by on “weed, whites and wine” and make it fit perfectly on the biggest album of her career is a sign of true genius.