Get Closer (Linda Ronstadt album)

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Get Closer
Studio album by Linda Ronstadt
Released September, 1982-2009
Recorded August, 1981 - August, 1982
Genre Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock
Length 36:31
Label Asylum
Producer Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Greatest Hits, Volume 2
(1980)
Get Closer
(1982)
What's New
(1983)

Get Closer (1982) is a Gold-plus, Grammy Award-winning album by singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. It arrived two and a half years after Ronstadt's excursion into Punk Rock with her Mad Love album. It was taken out of print in 2009.

History[edit]

Get Closer found Ronstadt returning to the genres that had resulted in her commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s, and working again with British musician and producer Peter Asher. It was noted by critics that, whereas she had spent the '70s channeling the music of then-upcoming songwriters such as the late Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, Karla Bonoff and J. D. Souther, on Get Closer Ronstadt sang older songs, some originated by established artists such as Billy Joe Royal, George Jones and Ike and Tina Turner, and others originated by lesser-known soul artists and one-hit wonders such as the Knickerbockers, the Exciters, Lee Dorsey and Wade Flemons.

Also, the album contained two tracks originally recorded for but never included on previous albums. The first, a re-make of Jones' "Sometimes You Just Can't Win," was recorded in June 1977 with J. D. Souther on harmony vocals and intended for the album Simple Dreams. The other, a remake of Dolly Parton's 1971 recording "My Blue Tears," was performed with Parton and Emmylou Harris as part of a planned trio album that, because of scheduling and record company conflicts, was never released. The trio's version was originally recorded in January 1978 (Parton, Ronstadt and Harris would eventually record and release the first of two Trio albums in 1987). Also on Get Closer was a duet with James Taylor, a remake of Ike and Tina Turner's "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine".

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C+[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]

Asylum Records released Get Closer in late September 1982.[4] Reviewers wrote about a newfound confidence in Ronstadt's vocals. Ken Tucker of Rolling Stone magazine wrote in his November 11 review, "Linda Ronstadt's voice has never sounded better than it does on Get Closer...its spirit is unassailable." Noting her turn in Pirates, Tucker wrote that Ronstadt's vocal development on Broadway "hasn't made her self-conscious. Just the opposite, in fact: Linda Ronstadt is no longer a prisoner of technique." Tucker did decry much of the album's second side, saying that some of the oldies in the soul genre were performed too meticulously.[3]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, "Miss Ronstadt's singing is so strong and unaffected." He paid special attention to the title track, calling it "the album's most adventurous performance" and noting Ronstadt's "shouting, growling exuberance reminiscent of Aretha Franklin's 'Respect.'[5]

Commercially, the album fell short of Ronstadt's prior efforts, peaking at #31 on the Billboard album chart in late 1982[6] and being certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over 500,000 copies. (By contrast, 1980's Mad Love had debuted in the Top Five and was certified Platinum in several weeks.) Get Closer was Ronstadt's first album release in 10 years to miss a million-selling Platinum certification, although it reached sales of 900,000 copies.

This album's driving title track, "Get Closer" was written by Washington D.C.-based singer-songwriter Jon Carroll,[7] an original member of the Starland Vocal Band and a current member of Mary Chapin Carpenter's backup band. The song, notable for its unusual 7/4 time signature, was later chosen to promote Close Up toothpaste ("Get Close Up").

Assisted by a popular MTV music video, "Get Closer" peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit the Top 20 in Cash Box magazine. It garnered considerable airplay on AOR (Album-Oriented Rock) stations while its follow-up single, "I Knew You When", was also aided by a popular music video and peaked at #37 Pop, #25 Adult Contemporary, and #84 Country.

Ronstadt's seductive interpretation of Jimmy Webb's "Easy For You To Say" was a surprise Top Ten hit on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in the spring of 1983. "Sometimes You Just Can't Win," the B-side to the "Get Closer" single, peaked at #27 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.[8]

Ronstadt was nominated in early 1983 for the Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female and Best Rock Vocal Performance Female for the album and song "Get Closer," losing to Melissa Manchester and Pat Benatar respectively.[9] The album did, however, win the Grammy for Best Album Package, an art director's award. The trophy went to well known designers Kosh and Ron Larson (artist).

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Get Closer"- Jon Carroll – 2:29
  2. "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" - Jimmy Webb – 3:03
  3. "I Knew You When" - Joe South – 2:53
  4. "Easy for You to Say" - Jimmy Webb – 4:03
  5. "People Gonna Talk" - William Wheeler/Lee Dorsey/Morris Levy/Clarence L. Lewis – 2:38
  6. "Talk to Me of Mendocino" - Kate McGarrigle – 2:57
  7. "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (with James Taylor) - Rose Marie McCoy/Sylvia McKinney – 4:01
  8. "Mr. Radio" - Roderick Taylor – 4:07
  9. "Lies" - Buddy Randell/Beau Charles – 2:35
  10. "Tell Him" - Bert Russell Berns – 2:35
  11. "Sometimes You Just Can't Win" (with J. D. Souther) - Smokey Stover – 2:30
  12. "My Blue Tears" (with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris) - Parton – 2:40

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 19
U.S. Billboard 200 31
Canadian RPM Top Albums 48

References[edit]