Summer Reading: Working with John Boylan

This vaccinated summer, I’ve been recording the audio version of my 1996 mid-life memoir,  “Taken to the Stage: The Education of an Actress.” 

Voicing what I wrote 25 years ago, about my childhood formation and my dedication to becoming an actress no matter what, has been transformational. It’s been especially thrilling to do much of it in a studio used by The Eagles. 

The producer at the helm is the brilliant John Boylan, a friend from childhood. I remember him playing his guitar for my sophisticated older sister, introducing us to “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” and San Francisco Bay Blues.  Our families shared nearby summer cottages on Canandaigua Lake. We were all Catholic, meaning we were raised with high aspiration for this life and the next. The humor required to leaven our guilt when we inevitably missed the mark was much in evidence as we worked. I’m writing a new Foreword and Afterword for the project, so it will bring listeners up to date to “Dharma & Greg,” “In The Loop”, “Midnight In Paris” and “MOM” – and how I navigated the years between.

You may not know John Boylan but you definitely have heard his work. 


Get to know GRAMMY award winning Producer John Boylan:

John Boylan is one of the most successful record producers in contemporary music. He has produced over fifty albums which have sold more than forty million records. His work crosses all boundaries of music, from rock to country, and from children’s music to film soundtracks.

A chance meeting with Linda Ronstadt at West Hollywood’s famous Troubadour club gave John a chance to explore some of his musical fusion ideas. Linda asked John to help her form a new backup group for her next solo tour and he quickly turned to the extended family of struggling musicians playing in various bands at the Troubadour’s Monday night “open mike” concerts. First to be hired was Detroit transplant Glenn Frey, followed quickly by Texan Don Henley, who had been pitching his songs to John, hoping to get Linda to record them. Rounding out the band were ex-Stone Canyon Band member Randy Meisner and ex-Flying Burrito Brother Bernie Leadon. With this solid line-up behind her, Linda’s career took off. Her next album, produced by John, became her first gold record, containing the hit singles, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” and “Love Has No Pride.” In addition, John signed a two-year contract to manage her career, during which he negotiated her release from Capitol Records and landed her a long-term contract with Elektra/Asylum. After several successful tours during 1971, John helped Linda Ronstadt refine her sound into what would be one of the cornerstones of the California country-rock movement. However, everyone involved began to realize that her backup group had a special chemistry all their own. John recalls: “They were four great singers and they were writing some incredible songs. It seemed natural for them to try for a record deal.” Signed to Asylum Records by founder David Geffen, the group became the Eagles, one of the most successful rock bands in American history.

Read John Boylan’s Full Biography

Watch Linda Ronstadt on CBS Sunday Morning:

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