LINDA RONSTADT, JIMMY CLIFF, COMMON DENOMINATOR?
Not a word of real estate to be found here. Well, except for what I just wrote of course, but still….
Now what on earth could those two musicians have in common, one might ask?
Everyone who likes classic rock, and more, knows Linda Ronstadt and her music. I have known about here since I was in my early 20’s. My younger brother went to school with her class here in Tucson. I’ve probably seen her more in person than any other performer. Partial to a local lady, obviously.
Some of her song covers are my best loved ones. Linda always sang songs from the collections of other artists. Never cared much for doing her own music. And, boy, did she do the songs proud.
Now we come to the point of this narrative. One of my favorite songs is one she did in 1975, on her album “Prisoner In Disguise”, a tune called “Many Rivers To Cross”. I had always thought it had spiritual or light gospel roots.
And how wrong I was. Me, a pretty good “expert” on Miss Linda.
Turns out ‘Many Rivers To Cross” is from one Jimmy Cliff, who wrote it in 1969.
The Honorable Jimmy Cliff, OM (born James Chambers; 1 April 1948) is a Jamaican ska and reggae singer, musician, and actor. He is the only currently living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honor that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievement in the arts and sciences. He is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Sitting in Limbo," "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "Many Rivers to Cross" from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world, and his covers of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" and Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from the film Cool Runnings. Outside of the reggae world, he is probably best known for his film appearance in The Harder They Come. Movie has a great soundtrack. Jimmy Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Jimmy Cliff’s original and Linda’s cover are like songs from different planets. Jimmy is a reggae artist, and preceded the famous Bob Marley in making reggae popular. And Linda, well, she’s Linda.
I have the songs from both artists, and they are BOTH terrific. And I, the big music expert (so to speak) has now known about Jimmy Cliff for two whole days!!! Unbelievable! Rock on….
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