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Wonderland 1977
September 17, 2010 7:00 PM   Subscribe

In 1977 the Dutch public broadcasting association VARA made a documentary called Wonderland, about then up-&-coming recording artists Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne. Here is that film. Warren Zevon at Griffith Observatory, Linda Ronstadt in studio “Tracks Of My Tears” alternative studio version, Linda Ronstadt outside her Malibu house, Warren Zevon at a burrito stand, Warren Zevon in concert “Carmelita”, Bonnie Raitt at Frederick’s, Bonnie Raitt in concert “Nothing Seems To Matter”, Linda Ronstadt in the bedroom of her Malibu house, Linda Ronstadt in studio “Lose Again” alternative studio version, Warren Zevon at Griffith Observatory, Warren Zevon in rehearsal “Frank And Jesse James”, Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Raitt in concert “Give It Up Or Let Me Go”, Jackson Browne, Jackson Browne in concert “Before The Deluge”.
posted by scalefree (29 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Just Wow.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:07 PM on September 17, 2010


Thank you! My wife knew Linda in Malibu back then and remembers Linda's house shown in the videos. That beach where Linda walks is also where we spent our honeymoon years ago, so I am nostalgic.
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:18 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, the video took a pretty wacky route getting here. A Japanese fan found a bootleg DVD on the streets of Tokyo, cut it up & uploaded it to YouTube then posted it to Linda Ronstadt's fan forum. Warren's widow Crystal Zevon found it there & posted his pieces to FaceBook, which is where I found it. It is some amazing footage.
posted by scalefree at 7:19 PM on September 17, 2010


Sorry if I'm nostaglia'ing out here. The first reel actually shows my wife's old family place, right next door to Linda's white house on the beach around 1'40". I showed my wife the video and she expected Linda's Akitas to come running onto the beach!
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:32 PM on September 17, 2010


Everything about Linda Ronstadt is beautiful.
posted by swift at 7:57 PM on September 17, 2010


Everything about Warren Zevon is beautiful.
posted by headnsouth at 8:17 PM on September 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just passed this link to my husband, who's a big Zevon and Browne fan. His comment was "wow".
posted by immlass at 8:39 PM on September 17, 2010


Nice find. Now if the audio could only matched the video we'd really have something. But if it's all we have....
posted by Rashomon at 8:56 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bonnie Raitt, FTW! Even after all the conversions (a bootleg on the streets of Tokyo, you say?) and youtube compression, her voice still sends shivers up and down my spine. Here's another one of Bonnie from about the same time, I think. Truly awesome find. Thanks!
posted by fartknocker at 9:07 PM on September 17, 2010


Wow. I wish I could favorite this 100 times.

What a different, smoggy, drugged-out, sad, beautiful place L.A. was back then.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2010


Burrito King is still at Sunset and Alvarado though. Either it's gotten way way worse or Mr. Zevon had really low standards for Mexican food.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:13 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Neat to see that corner sans the American Apparel that's there now though.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:15 PM on September 17, 2010


Sublime! I adore Linda Ronstadt, have such respect for her as a person and blissed out on her music for decades. And love Bonnie Raitt. It's wonderful to see/hear them then. How smart Linda and Bonnie are and beautiful too. Oooh, Don't Know Much.

About VARA (Association of Worker Radio Amateurs), "VARA's original focus was on labour and socialism". Their site.

Curious about Wonderland in general, googled around a little.
There's also Van Morrison the Wonderland Tapes (on the internet archive) about Wonderland

The Sex Pistols - Vara's Wonderland

Seeing how hard it is to come up with anything about Wonderland it makes it extra special to see these 1977 videos. Thanks scalefree.
posted by nickyskye at 10:42 PM on September 17, 2010


do you know karl?
posted by clavdivs at 11:55 PM on September 17, 2010


Y2 many links in the top ffp imo
posted by clavdivs at 11:57 PM on September 17, 2010


Off topic:

(Neat to see that corner sans the American Apparel that's there now though.)

It won't be there much longer probably. They are running out of money.

And yes, wasn't LA smoggy back then.
posted by acheekymonkey at 6:36 AM on September 18, 2010


In the Ronstadt studio clip you can see Peter Asher at the boards. Man, did that guy have his hands in a lot of great music.

Although it was destined to eventually blow up, the "Southern California sound" of that time turned out some killer talent - from the Flying Burrito Brothers to the Byrds to the Eagles to Linda, Bonnie, Jackson, Warren ...

( I still can't believe I've been a Bonnie Raitt fanatic for forty years, now.)

Thanks very,very much for the clips.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:40 AM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You had me at Warren Zevon.
posted by dortmunder at 7:00 AM on September 18, 2010


Oh god this is fantastic.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2010


A great find. I was just out of highschool in '77, and dreaming of working in that sort of recording studio. It almost happened...

Slight derail - how come the sync between sound and picture is always so awful in YouTube (or is it flv's in general)? It's funny what we put up with now...
posted by Artful Codger at 7:35 AM on September 18, 2010


"Four mechaco burritos."
"You're Warren Zevon!"
"How do you know?"
"I have your album."
"Too much, man."

I'm set for today.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:38 AM on September 18, 2010


The smog is the only thing that has changed. Still plenty of skinny, bearded hipsters.
posted by spudsilo at 9:24 AM on September 18, 2010


Far out!
posted by tommasz at 9:42 AM on September 18, 2010


Everything about Warren Zevon is beautiful.

Having read this book, I'm not sure I'd agree.
posted by Xurando at 11:56 AM on September 18, 2010



Having read this book, I'm not sure I'd agree.

True enough. That book was kind of disillusioning. But then, when I read biographies of William S. Burroughs and Tim Leary, I found out they were complete assholes too. I know Zevon and Burroughs were assholes, and I still like their work. Leary, on the other hand, I never liked, and the biography I read make me hate him more.
posted by dortmunder at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want to catch more of this vibe, go watch the 1978 film FM, which was conceived as a soundtrack film. I think more people probably listened to the songs off the album (Steely Dan wrote the title piece, of course -- no static at all) than saw the film, which is about a group of spunky radio underdogs who run a spunky underdog radio station in LA and are threatened by --gasp!-- corporate types.

The predictable Capra-in-a-hot-tub story be damned, the film features live concert footage from several musicians including Linda Ronstadt, who sings both Tumblin' Dice and Poor Poor Pitiful Me. I think her songs are my favorite part of the film. She is just having so much fun onstage. I love watching that.
posted by Spatch at 5:34 PM on September 18, 2010


Is there anyone who wasn't in love with Linda Ronstadt?
posted by cogneuro at 11:37 PM on September 18, 2010


Great stuff! A lot of that 70s California stuff is semi-forgotten today, or the butt of jokes, but it's too easy to put it all in one box labeled "soft crap rock" when it wasn't really nearly that simple.

Just for the record though, in no way should Linda Ronstadt be considered "up and coming" in 1977. She had already had 4 platinum and one gold record by the end of '77 and was very soon be the highest paid woman in show business. She was both a commercial and an artistic success as well - although she's criticized for only doing covers, she had really great taste (covered Neil Young, the McGarrigles, etc.) and knew her way around several different genres of "roots" music.

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Warren Zevon had all been around for a few years but hadn't had a lot of commercial success until 1977...

What's really interesting is to look at these four in the context of the year punk broke...
posted by mikel at 7:03 AM on September 20, 2010


I love this so much that I cannot speak.

I also bought the Crystal Zevon book, and I don't care what it makes Uncle Warren out to be. We all knew what he was, and bought in...

It's right there in the lyrics.

"I went home with the waitress... The way I always do."

I think I'll go throw myself on the Davenport of Despair...
posted by Cathedral at 4:31 AM on September 22, 2010


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