Spotlight Series: Karla Bonoff


Most of my music has always been personal, and that’s the thing that I think people relate to. This kind of music, the singer and songwriter style, is very personal and I think that’s why people like it.Karla Bonoff

Ever since getting her start in the 1960s at Los Angeles’ famed The Troubadour, singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff has become famous for writing songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and Wynonna Judd. Also an accomplished performer in her own right, Bonoff plays a free show this Friday at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena. Learn the stories behind some of her hits! 

“Somebody’s Eyes”

First made popular by its appearance in Footloose (1984), “Somebody’s Eyes” was also featured in the 1999 musical adaptation of the iconic film. Originally a soft rock love song, the musical version was changed into a warning about Bomont’s strict rules against dancing and other vices.

“Tell Me Why”

In 1993, Wynonna Judd released Bonoff’s “Tell Me Why” as the lead single for her second album, which reached #3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. Bonoff said about the experience

So Y [Wynonna Judd] called me one day and said, “Karla, I want to record that song.” And I said, “Why,” and she said, “Because I like it.” I replied with, “That’s great, Y!” 

And then she asked, “Why don’t you come down to the studio and help me record it?” And I said, “Why?” And then Y said, “Maybe you could do some background vocals for me?” And I said,” Y, no!” 

And that’s how Y got to sing “Tell Me Why.”

“All My Life”

In the 1960s, Bonoff formed a short-lived folk-rock band called Bryndle with fellow singer-songwriters Andrew Gold, Wendy Waldman and Kenny Edwards, who was also a founding member of The Stone Poneys. Edwards introduced Bonoff to bandmate Linda Ronstadt, who went on to record several of Bonoff’s songs, including this pop rock duet with Aaron Neville which won the 1991 GRAMMY for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. 

Experience Karla Bonoff live at a free show this Friday at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena! And for folks in Bellingham, Bethlehem, Cleveland, Middlesboro, Los Angeles, Sheboygan, Trenton, Westport, check out the other free concerts happening this week at the Levitt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *