So NPR compiled a list of the 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women¬†(since 1964). You can read the rationale for the list here. It covers–or, if you like, CYA’s–the usual caveats for such lists. They were a little vague on why a list designed to put women “at the center” should have its starting point defined by the Beatles (Why not Julie London (as great an album maker as Frank Sinatra in the fifties)? Or Billie Holiday? Why not be really transformative and shake up the whole narrative, if it’s the whole narrative that needs shaking? And, if it doesn’t, why not just say so?).

But I’ll leave hashing all that out for some other day.

Today, I’m not gonna carp. Because the Shangri-Las made the list!

I only kind of wish (and I’m not complaining–that album cover above you hangs in my den, framed) they had made it with their other, stronger album (the even better version of Shangri-Las ’65*)

…which I like to say has cast a longer shadow than¬†Rubber Soul or Highway 61 Revisited.

Or Blue (the Joni Mitchell album that tops the NPR list–like all corporate lists, it’s not long on surprises).

Of course, I say that with tongue in cheek.


But it’s funny what happens in shadows. I just saw Wonder Woman win WWI at the multiplex last week…and she did it looking and acting a lot more like a Shangri-La than anything her original comic-strip creators envisioned.

If you see Bob Dylan’s shadow hovering over the multiplex, where the genuine, authentic, one hundred percent true-life fantasy America persists in re-creating itself these days, be sure to let me know.

I’m not saying it’s a good thing either.

Just that it’s a thing.

An overwhelming thing.

That Wonder Woman, she’s fifty feet tall.

For now, though, I’m gonna let all the caveats go, and just use this as a reason to smile in a grim world.

[*–Shangri-Las ’65 was released before “I Can Never Go Home Any More” became a big hit. Their label then released a new version of the LP, re-titled after the hit, with “I Can Never Go Home Any More,” one the era’s greatest sides, replacing “The Dum Dum Ditty,” one of the few Shangs’ sides that isn’t great. I should probably add that “this has probably cast a longer shadow than Rubber Soul or Highway 61 Revisited” is something I first scribbled about Shangri-Las ’65 in one of those notebooks all writers keep about thirty years ago, before I knew I Can Never Go Home Any More, the album, existed. I’ve repeated it a few times since, including on this blog. But I ask again–who else joins the Ramones and Madonna at the hip? And what’s more “influential” than that?]


As I’ve mentioned here before I grew up in a house with a singer.

I may have also mentioned that I grew up in a house with a singer who finally had her voice robbed by disease, hence the announcement that the great Linda Ronstadt has discovered that Parkinson’s has been creeping up on her for some years and has now ended her singing career strikes close to home.

A little closer perhaps, because twenty years after my mother passed away, my father–who couldn’t sing a lick–went into a nursing home and some months later, on the night that I was told he wouldn’t last the weekend, I went home to gather some things for the vigil.

“Home” was a hundred miles away. When it came midnight and I was ready to head back, there was exactly one song I had to pull out of my CD collection to play when my car got past my town’s two traffic lights and I hit the open road.

I really had no idea why it was so–why it had to be that song–but after listening to the interview below, I feel the beginnings of at least a cosmic notion.

Turns out Linda Ronstadt knows a little something about both death and healing.

Here’s that song:

Linda Ronstadt “Rock Me On the Water” (Studio recording…not the greatest sound but it’s the only version I could find)

And here’s that interview:

Linda Ronstadt on NPR’s Fresh Air

There is, of course, some chatter that the committee which determines such things will now finally nominate her for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Then she might even get voted in. She probably doesn’t care. But her fans do and, as such, we should probably count ourselves lucky if it happens. Heck, Dusty Springfield and Donna Summer had to die.

Like I said…always the wrong people.