Framework

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May 5, 1980: Linda Ronstadt in concert at the Forum in Inglewood. This photo was published in the May 7, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 23, 1978: Linda Ronstadt performing at the Forum in Inglewood.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 23, 1978: Linda Ronstadt in concert at the Forum. This photo was published in the Dec. 30, 1978, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 23. 1978: Smokey Robinson joins Linda Ronstadt to perform "Ooo Baby Baby" at the Forum in Inglewood. This photo was published in the Dec. 25, 1978, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 23, 1978: Linda Ronstadt at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

May 5, 1980: Linda Ronstadt in concert at the Forum in Inglewood. This photo was published in the May 7, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

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Linda Ronstadt at the Forum

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Linda Ronstadt at the Forum

Two Linda Ronstadt concerts at the Forum on Dec. 23, 1978, and May 5, 1980, were covered by The Times.

After the second concert, Times Pop Music Critic Robert Hilburn reported in the May 7, 1980, Los Angeles Times:

Linda Ronstadt is one of America’s favorite pinups, but her success in concerts depends almost solely on her music. Unlike rock’s Chrissie Hynde or country’s Dolly Parton, Ronstadt doesn’t have a strong stage presence. The best you can say about it is that it’s unpretentious.

That’s why she’s usually more effective in a smaller venue, say the 5,000-seat Universal Amphitheater, than in the confines of the 18,000-seat Inglewood Forum, where she was dwarfed at times in 1978.

So, Ronstadt’s decision to return to the Forum this year, rather that play the Amphitheater, was a disappointment. Thanks to the spunky music from her controversial new “Mad Love” album, however, things turned out all right — for the most part — Monday night at the Forum, where her clothes mirrored her generally upbeat mood: A purple sequined tank top, red pants rolled up to the calf and red high heels.

The new album is controversial because Ronstadt’s use of songs by such new wave-oriented writers as Elvis Costello and the Cretones’ Mark Goldenberg have led hard-core rockers to charge she’s jumping to a commercial bandwagon.

In truth, Ronstadt has merely adapted the intense and mostly upbeat new material to her already wide-ranging pop-country-rock style. She demonstrated the point quickly on Monday, injecting a vocal verve in the opening number — Goldenberg’s storming “Mad Love” — that virtually reduced the huge Forum to club size ….

Social note: Yes Gov. Brown was on hand Monday, but he didn’t make an appearance on stage and Ronstadt didn’t dedicate a song to him.

Former staff photographer George Rose covered the 1978 concert. Current staff photographer Gary Friedman was at the 1980 concert. Six of their photos are in the above photo gallery above.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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1 Comment

  1. August 29, 2014, 4:49 am

    I attended one of those concerts during her Dec. 1978 stand at the Forum. I remember when she and Gov. Brown were dating. I wonder how serious the relationship was, if it was close enough where they would have married and she would have been First Lady of California!

    By: Alma

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