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The Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music Album By Album Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Weber, Dec 24, 2008.

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  1. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Excerpts from Buckley’s THE THRILL OF IT ALL, pages 267-9

    Ferry, for his part, was to endure something of a midlife crisis, becoming even more paralyzed by the creative process than usual. It was not always so: in the first ten years of Ferry’s success, he was one of the most productive men in pop. In the first rush of creativity, Roxy Music had produced five albums in three-and-a-half years. Between 1972 and 1982 there were a dozen Ferry and Roxy albums of original material. Yet there would be an astonishing seven-year gap between Ferry’s Bete Noire and his next album of solo, self-penned songs, 1994’s Mamouna.

    Ferry worked hard in the recording studio, labouring tirelessly for months and even years. The availability of digital recording, and 64-track at that, simultaneously inspired and entrapped him. It meant he could layer information, but it also meant that he could, once again, endlessly defer making a final judgment on what parts should fit where. Ferry hired dozens of expensive musicians…

    “For the last ten years I have had a dismal output of work,” Ferry would confess to the Times in 1993. “It’s because I got very self-conscious about bringing out a new album, conscious of what I was trying to beat and determined to write my masterpiece… the first problem was that the technology got more and more sophisticated so my opportunities expanded and the possibilities became endless.” The new album was originally to be called Horoscope, and initially Ferry was upbeat about the prospects of releasing it quite quickly after the relative failure of Bete Noire. But by 1992, he found himself without either a manager or a producer. And, with no one there to call a halt to Ferry’s increasingly grandiose designs, the recording sessions went on and on, and on.

    …the situation only stabilized when he hooked up again with his original manager, David Enthoven, who had come out of a ten-year retirement.

    Rumours had it that Ferry had financed the recording of the Horoscope album to the tune of 800,000 pounds. At one point it was costing him 2,000 pounds per day to record the tracks, all financed solely from his own pocket.

    Listening to the tracks intended for Horoscope, Ferry and Enthoven, along with the record company, decided that, even after all the years of work, there were still not ready. Some reports claim that Virgin Records simply rejected the album out of hand, though this is rigorously denied by Ferry himself: “They seemed to like it, from what I remember. Warner Brothers in America didn’t like it as much.

    The main problem, the consensus ran, was the lack of anything commercial enough to be released as a single. The solution was to simply turn the canvas of Horoscope around to face the wall, and to return to the songs sometime in the future, in true painterly fashion. Some of the songs would ultimately be dropped, others reworked, and Horoscope would eventually be released in 1994 with the new title, Mamouna. This ill-fated album… -D.B.

    Dr. Weber
     
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  2. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    We will respect forum rules and not discuss trading or where to obtain the HOROSCOPE SESSIONS. But not to mention, if not to discuss, these songs would be an oversight in such a detailed thread since these recordings are an essential part of Ferry’s creative process in his long drought…

    HOROSCOPE SESSIONS (1991)

    1. The 39 Steps (5:36)
    2. The Only Face (4:47)
    3. N.Y.C. (4:05)
    4. Midnight Train (5:51)
    5. Your Love Has Died (4:51)
    6. Gemini Moon (4:42)
    7. Blinded By the Life I'm Living (5:35)
    8. Mother Of Pearl (9:00)


    From These Vintage Years!:

    This album began after Bryan Ferry's world tour in 1988/89 as an album called Horoscope. The album was mixed and cut several times, but Bryan was never happy with it. He took some time off the album to do some Elvis songs for the soundtrack to the film Honeymoon In Vegas. This acted as the catalyst for Bryan to take a complete break and record some old songs which became the album Taxi in 1993

    The original Horoscope recordings have never been officially released with the exception of a re-recorded version of the Roxy Music song “Mother Of Pearl,” which appeared on the soundtrack to Ordinary Decent Criminal and on Bryan's “One Way Love” single. “Gemini Moon” was originally called “Horoscope.”


    Personal notes and observations:

    Could this have been released as the follow-up to Bete Noire? Sure, the tracks are more or less finished… although the cymbals sound too unpolished on “N.Y.C.”… but should it have been released? As much as I enjoy following the creative process and trying to understand the source of songs, I believe the record companies and Ferry were correct to nix or delay the project. Maybe I am conditioned by the comparative lushness of Mamouna and before that of Ferry’s two most recent studio albums… maybe that shows the extent that this material needed to be reworked or polished. Additionally, the tempos sound samey, somewhere between indolence and the dance floor.

    What about the cover of “Mother of Pearl”? Is it symptomatic of the creative problems or a smart tangent to revisit the past? Is it sacrilegious to rework one of Roxy Music’s unquestionable classics, to make it dance oriented? I harbor misgivings about this version while tapping my foot. Sacrilegious or not, it works.

    Should Ferry ever compile a four disc box set, include the Horoscope Sessions.

    Dr. Weber
     
  3. AtcoFan

    AtcoFan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA

    US:

    These Foolish Things
    Entered Billboard's Bubbling Under The Top Pop Albums
    7 September 1974
    Peak #204
    5 Weeks On Chart
     
  4. For what it's worth I think it should be released but I doubt it ever will be as a complete album.

    Ferry clearly was at a transition point in his life when he recorded the album.

    The remake of "Mother of Pearl" (which I haven't heard in quite a while...it's long gone) was interesting and reminds me of the recasting of other Roxy songs when they toured in support of "Avalon" and his solo tours (although curiously "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" one of Ferry's favorite songs has avoided this fate).

    It's not the first time that Ferry has remade Roxy songs but it is one of the more radical rethinking (along with "Casanova") of a remake.
     
  5. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    Location:
    Scotland



    He went back to old tracks before, and recorded a "dance" version of Remake/Remodel which didn't work for me, and I would like to hear this version, but burying it on a soundtrack is not going to make me seek it out, so some sort of rarities collection would interest me, but my guess is it just wouldn't have the mass appeal of the Roxy box for instance. I think its time has come and gone.
     
  6. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for this correction. These Vintage Years! confirms: Jeff Thall first appeared with Bryan Ferry as lead guitarist on his 1988 Bete Noire tour.

    Thall's myspace page... http://www.myspace.com/jeffthall ... has a YouTube video of "The Chosen One" recorded in Glasgow on the '88 tour.

    I like what little I have heard from the '88 tour...

    Dr. Weber
     
  7. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    Virginia Plain
    Possibly the best debut single ever
     
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  8. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    The Horoscope stuff deserves an official release. Strange how Ferry had such a long time 'tween Bete Noire and Taxi, without the release of Horoscope. Ferry seems to find his groove mining the terrain of other's work. Taxi definitely gave him that impetus to finish up what he started on Horoscope so to speak.........
     
  9. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Was this ever confirmed from a legitimate source, Ferry, his management or label? Unquestionably, there is ample material for a four-disc box set a la The Thrill of It All, or preferably a five-disc box with the addition of a live album, say Glasgow ’88.

    Dr. Weber
     
  10. fabtrick

    fabtrick New Member

    Location:
    NorCal
    Yep. That's the guy. Whoever he was. Now that I think about it, didn't he play with Julian Lennon as well? Replacing his buddy Justin?
     
  11. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    While Ferry worked on Horoscope and wrestled with creative indecision, some singles were released between Bete Noire (1987-8) and Taxi (March 1993):

    7” Single: “Let’s Stick Together” (Westside ’88 remix) b/w “Trash”
    Label: EGO EGO 44 (UK)
    Released: October 1988
    Peaked at: #12 (7 weeks on the UK chart)

    12” Single: “Let’s Stick Together” (Westside ’88 remix extended) and “Trash” b/w “Shame Shame Shame” and “Angel Eyes” (extended)
    Label: EGOX 44 (UK)
    Released: October 1988

    CD single: “Let’s Stick Together” (Westside ’88 remix), “Trash,” “Sign of the Times” and “Casanova”
    Label: Virgin EGOCD 44 (UK)
    Released: October 1988

    7” Single: “The Price of Love” (R&B ’89 remix) b/w “Lover”
    Label: EG EGO 46 (UK)
    Released: January 1989
    Peaked at: #49 (3 weeks on the UK chart)

    12” Single: “The Price of Love” (R&B ’89 remix extended) and “Lover” b/w “Don’t Stop the Dance” (extended) and “Nocturne”
    Label: EGO EGOX 46 (UK)
    Released: January 1989

    CD Single: “The Price of Love” (R&B ’89 remix), “Don’t Stop the Dance” (extended), “Slave To Love” (extended), and “Lover”
    Label: EGO EGO 46CD (UK)
    Released: January 1989

    7” Single: “He’ll Have To Go” (Allison & Allison) b/w “Carrickfergus”
    Label: EG EGO 48 (UK)
    Released: April 1989 (first appeared on The Ultimate Collection in November 1988)
    Peaked at: #63 (2 weeks on the UK chart)

    12” Single: “He’ll Have To Go” and “Carrickfergus” b/w “Windswept” and “Is Your Love Strong Enough”
    Label: EGOX 48 (UK)
    Released: April 1989

    CD Single: “He’ll Have To Go,” “Take Me To the River,” “Broken Wings,” and “Carrickfergus”
    Label: EGOCD 48 (UK)
    Released: April 1989

    By Roxy Music:

    7” Single: “Love Is the Drug” (live) b/w “Editions of You” (live)
    Label: EGO 55 (UK)
    Released: September 1990

    12” Single: “Love Is the Drug” (live) b/w “Editions of You” (live), and “Do the Strand” (live)
    Label: EGOX 55
    Released: September 1990

    CD Single: “Love Is the Drug” (live), “Editions of You” (live), and “Do the Strand” (live)
    Label: EGOCD 55
    Released: September 1990


    Personal notes and observations:

    Does anyone know which rendition of “He’ll Have To Go” inspired Ferry to tackle the song? The American hit was by Jim Reeves in 1960. The song peaked at #2 for three weeks during a 20 week run in Billboard’s Top 40. On the country chart, the song peaked at #1 for 14 weeks! Addendum: checking the British charts: this version peaked at #12 during a whopping 31 week run in 1960.

    Elvis Presley’s version appears on 1977’s Moody Blue but was never a significant hit. Interestingly, Wilbert Harrison… remember him? writer of “Let’s Stick Together”… recorded a version in the early to mid-1960s.

    Dr. Weber
     
  12. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    TAXI
    by Bryan Ferry
    ***

    Recorded: at Matrix Studios, London
    Released: March 1993
    Label: Virgin CDV 2700 (UK); Reprise WEA 45246-2 (US)
    Peaked at #2 (UK); #79 (US)

    Pre-production at: Studio One, London
    Engineer: Richard T. Norris
    Engineer at Matrix Studios: Sven Taits
    Mastered by: Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk
    Mixed at: Bearsville Studios, New York State by Bob Clearmountain
    Produced by: Bryan Ferry & Robin Trower

    Photography: Anton Corbijn
    Art Direction: Nick De Ville & Bryan Ferry
    Management: David Enthoven & Juliet Mann at I.E. Management, London
    Derek Sutton at Stardust Ent. Inc. Los Angeles

    “For my mother: Mary Ann Ferry 1909-1991”


    01. “I Put A Spell On You” (Hawkins) (5:27)
    02. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Goffin, King) (4:17)
    03. “Answer Me” (Rauch, Sigman, Winkler) (2:46)
    04. “Just One Look” (Carroll, Payne) (3:32)
    05. “Rescue Me” (Miner, Smith) (3:40)
    06. “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (Reed) (5:33)
    07. “Girl of My Best Friend” (Ross, Bobrick) (3:25)
    08. “Amazing Grace” (trad. arr. Ferry) (4:02)
    09. “Taxi” (Banks, Brooks) (5:31)
    10. “Because You’re Mine” (Ferry) (1:44)


    7” Single: “I Put A Spell On You” b/w “These Foolish Things”
    Label: Virgin VS 1400 (UK) (cassette catalogue number: VSX 1400)
    Released: February 1993
    Peaked at: #18 (5 weeks on the UK chart)

    7” Single: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” b/w “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
    Label: VS 1455 (UK)
    Released: May 1993
    Peaked at: #23 (5 weeks on the UK chart)

    7” Single: “Girl of My Best Friend” b/w “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (Turk / Handman)
    Label: VS 1468 (UK)
    Released: September 1993
    Peaked at: #57 (2 weeks on the UK chart)


    personnel will be listed in a subsequent post


    The AMG review by Ned Raggett:
    ***

    Taxi shows a mature Bryan Ferry, suave and controlled, very much in line with his general career from 1979 on. The choices of songs to cover doesn't make for any surprises -- the same selections of classic rock, pop, and soul numbers dominate, with an interesting ringer here and there like "Amazing Grace." As with his other recent solo records, a cast of thousands supports him, ranging from the Grid's Richard Norris on synth programming to Brit guitar legends Robin Trower and Michael Brook, plus vocalist Carleen Anderson. All four feature on the opening "I Put a Spell on You," which manages the neat trick of sounding almost exactly like a Ferry original -- what Screamin' Jay Hawkins would have made of it is anyone's guess. The rest of the album takes a similar tone, either crackling with low-key energy or aiming for a more gentle approach. The former style turns up in some welcome guises -- thus the take on Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me," here benefitting from a quick beat, mysterious samples and noises buried in the mix and near-subliminal guitar. An overall highlight is the take on the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties," which balances a certain winsomeness with a subtle air of threat, the music just beautiful enough on the one hand and just creepy enough on the other. Ferry's treated vocals, made to sound weirdly flat and compressed, heightens the curious mood.


    Personal notes and observations:

    Plagued by personal, creative and managerial problems and demons, Ferry turned to making an album of covers rather than struggle more with Horoscope. While designed as a cohesive album, at the time of its release and throughout subsequent years Taxi reminded me of Let’s Stick Together, a cobbled hodgepodge. In preparing this overview and listening several times to the album, I hear a consistency, a flow, that I had hitherto missed. Still, there is a jarring incongruity with the song selections, part hip, part obscure, part square, that manages to cover his regular themes as if he had written the songs or as if they were chosen specifically for subject matter and then forcibly molded into a whole.

    My inclination was to give the album a 2 ½ star rating, the lowest of all Ferry solo albums… even though it contains one of my favourite songs by him… “Girl of My Best Friend.” Just call it resonance.

    3 stars seems correct… average, with high points, typically the upbeat songs, and with low points, “Just One Look” and the songs with slower tempos.

    Worth noting: this was the first Ferry solo album I purchased on CD rather than record.

    Dr. Weber

    next: Mamouna
     
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  13. AtcoFan

    AtcoFan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Billboard Review
    24 April 1993

    BRYAN FERRY
    Taxi
    PRODUCERS: Bryan Ferry & Robin Trower
    Reprise 45246
    Ferry, who went the cover route on such entertaining '70s entries as "These Foolish Things'' and "Another Time, Another Place,'' goes back to the well again with versions of numbers by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Carole King, the Velvet Underground, and even a run at "Amazing Grace.'' But this time out, Ferry's epicene voice, and a band fronted by co-producer Trower, never really meshes with the material, making this a set primarily for devotees.
     
  14. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    Some thoughts on Taxi. Not the best Ferry album , but Bryan did a nice job of covering some daunting material and in my opinion pulls it off so well.

    01. “I Put A Spell On You” (Hawkins) (5:27)

    Very nice Ferrysque/Roxyan remake of Jay Hawkins original. Yes, it does lose its edge ,but BRyan makes it very much his own.
    02. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Goffin, King) (4:17)

    Ferry captures the essence of this one while adding his own flavor.
    03. “Answer Me” (Rauch, Sigman, Winkler) (2:46)

    Ferry turns this into a quasi-astompheirc-funky Roxyan piece. Nice rendition.....
    04. “Just One Look” (Carroll, Payne) (3:32)

    Another one where Ferry just transforms the song into his own creation so to speak.
    05. “Rescue Me” (Miner, Smith) (3:40)
    06. “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (Reed) (5:33)

    Sounds more like the Japan remake than the actual original! Ummm, I don't love this one, Ferry making it his own doesn't work as well BUT its still a passable version of the song.
    07. “Girl of My Best Friend” (Ross, Bobrick) (3:25)
    08. “Amazing Grace” (trad. arr. Ferry) (4:02)
    09. “Taxi” (Banks, Brooks) (5:31)
    10. “Because You’re Mine” (Ferry) (1:44)

    Nice little epilog to end the album.


    Trower made a very interesting partner/foil on this project. If you had asked me in the 70s if you could see RT and BF work together, I would have responded in the negative. This album was a very interesting prelude to Mamouna as well. Sort of an omen of what would be.........
     
  15. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    The opening two tracks, I Put A Spell On You and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? are stunning, superb versions. The rest of the album doesn't quite match them, and there a couple I'm not keen on; Girl Of My Best Friend, and a rather pointless version of Amazing Grace. It took me a while to appreciate Taxi; it's not immediate. What I like about it is the way he completely changes the arrangements of some of the songs; Just One Look and Rescue Me are unrecognisable from the originals. I also like the overall, ambient sound. A covers album which takes a few risks. It's an album I like a great deal, although it took me a couple of years to appreciate. Paul Stump (Unknown Pleasures biographer) gives it a rave review. When I have more time I'll post his piece.
     
  16. Interesting review from Billboard. I'd disagree with them...I think this is his best album of covers and have for years outside of "These Foolish Things". Even "Another Time, Another place" felt more like a hodge-podge collection to me rather than this.

    "He'll Have to Go" I believe (IIRC) was inspired by the Jim Reeves version which Ferry had heard.

    I love his version of "Amazing Grace" and unlike the Billboard review I tend to believe that the band led by Robin Trower was the most consistent sounding band in years for Ferry. Trower's production also was very complimentary to Ferry's voice and the arrangments work well.

    It has the atmospheric production that would dominate later solo albums (only hinted at on previous ones).
     
  17. Interesting the only song that doesn't work for me is the title track. Some of the others are interesting. I'd love to see Ferry tackle Paul Simon's "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor".
     
  18. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    In writing and assembling the overview for the album, I read the lyric to "Taxi," wondering why it was chosen as the album title. It fits thematically. The image reminds me of Ferry as chauffeur on For Your Pleasure.

    Dr. Weber
     
  19. fabtrick

    fabtrick New Member

    Location:
    NorCal
    Agreed. I also like the title track, but for the life of me, the rest of it is forgettable. I can't even remember the other songs but those.

    AFAIC, TAXI was the beginning of a long line of dull and boring albums from Bry, that he has yet to bounce back from. I've had zero confidence in his ability to produce an album that I find engaging ever since.
     
  20. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    “Taxi” by J. Blackfoot originally appeared on the album City Slicker in December 1983. The single was a Top Ten American R&B hit in 1984; additionally, it spent 5 weeks on the U.K. pop chart, peaking at #48 during the week of 31/03/84.


    Taxi

    Taxi!
    Take me to the other side of town
    Just as fast you can
    Taxi!
    Before my baby puts me down
    Now please, won’t you hurry
    See, she’s got me worried
    Don’t want to lose her love
    Cross town is too slow
    Hitchhike into no no
    She’s all I’m thinking of.
    Taxi!
    Got some catching up to do
    Taxi!
    Like a fool I broke her heart in two
    And start your meter running
    Get your engine humming
    Just wanna see her
    Just wanna see her
    Get along the meddle
    Tonight I’m gonna settle
    Had a seizure
    And I know it grieves her
    Taxi!
    Take me to my baby’s place just as fast you can
    Taxi!
    You got to get me there on time
    Freeway will be quicker
    No man’s gonna get her
    I’m going out of my mind
    She is why I’m living
    This is why I’m willing
    Jumping red lights, stop signs
    Just get me there on time.

    Dr. Weber
     
  21. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    “Girl of My Best Friend” was recorded by Elvis Presley on 3 March 1960, and released on 8 April 1960 on the album Elvis Is Back!, a #2 hit in the States. “Girl of My Best Friend” wasn’t an American hit or even a single or B-side in 1960. However, in the U.K. it was the B-side of the #2 hit “A Mess of Blues” in the summer of 1960. Sixteen years later… September, October, and November 1976… it charted as an A-side in the U.K., peaking at #9. It was because of this British hit status that the song was added to the 1964 Elvis' Golden Records Vol. 3 when reissued on CD in 1997.

    Noted AMG critic Bruce Eder says of “Girl of My Best Friend”: “it may be the prettiest song Elvis ever cut.”

    A quote from Sam Bobrick’s personal website:

    At the beginning of my career I dabbled in song writing. After several years of limited success I chose to buy groceries over the need to express my rhyming ability. Here are some of the highlights of my music writing career (my edit).

    "The Girl of My Best Friend" written with Beverly Ross. (1960) Recorded by Elvis Presley in his Elvis Is Back album. It was a top ten song in England when Presley released it as a single. Although many vocalists have covered it, my favorite was Bryan Ferry in his Taxi album in the '90s.


    Dr. Weber
     
  22. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    What prompted Ferry to work with Trower, and vice versa for that matter? Anyone know how and when they first met? On the surface, as butch says in post #664, who foresaw this pairing back in the '70s? But with his solo career in decline by 1993, Trower showed his ability to subjugate his personality and style...

    Dr. Weber
     
  23. Dr. Weber

    Dr. Weber New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    From Wikipedia:

    “Answer Me” was originally written (with German lyrics under the title “Mutterlein”) by Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch. The English lyrics were written by Carl Sigman in 1952. After the song was recorded by David Whitfield, and Frankie Laine in 1953, the “religious” version was banned by the BBC after complaints. Nevertheless it still reached number one on the UK singles chart after another version was written by Sigman in which, instead of directing the question to God about why the singer has lost his love, the lyric is addressed directly to the lost lover. In the new lyric, “answer me, Lord above…” is changed to “answer me, oh my love…” with other appropriate changes. The new song, entitled “Answer Me, My Love,” was again recorded by Laine, and Whitfield, but became a bigger U.S. hit for Nat King Cole in 1954.

    Frankie Laine version
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0R0LrEF_GA

    Nat King Cole version on youtube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ77xVL0ImY&NR=1

    Dr. Weber
     
  24. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    Was it the Hollies who originally did Just One Look? It's the only version I have heard; Ferry's version is a radical reworking of the song, unless he's modelled it on a different version. Credit also to Carleen Anderson, whose backing vocals on this album are superb.

    It's a strange coincidence that Michael Jackson and his former rhythmn guitarist, David Williams, who plays on this and previous Ferry albums, died in the same year and within months of each other.
     
  25. Doris Troy co-wrote it and recorded the first version in 1963, but the Hollies followed only a year later. I first heard it by Linda Ronstadt, who recorded it in 1978.
     
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