A Garland for Linda is a benefit album for the cancer-fighting organization the Garland Appeal. It is also a tribute album to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998. Her husband, Paul McCartney, contributes one selection, but it's not a pop song – it's a classical piece. It is one of ten classical pieces, all written for Linda McCartney, by such modern classical composers as John Tavener, Judith Bingham, David Matthews, John Rutter, Roxanna Ranufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The pieces are all similar in tone – gentle, sometimes somber, yet always sweet. There may not be any major works here, but everyone's heart is in the right place, and the result is a sentimental mood piece that floats charmingly on its affection.
Both Brian Eno and John Cale have always flirted with conventional pop music throughout their careers, while reserving the right to go off on less accessible experiments, which means they've always held out the promise that they would make something as attractive as this synthesizer-dominated collection, on which Eno comes as close to the mainstream as he has since Another Green World and Cale is as catchy as he's been since Honi Soit. The result is one of the best albums either one has ever made. [A 2005 reissue added two bonus tracks: "Grandfather's House" and "You Don't Miss Your Water."]
The late 1950s were tough on Judy Garland, but this live recording, cut on April 23, 1961, at Carnegie Hall, would (rightfully) bring the legendary icon back into the spotlight. Live would go on to win five Grammys, be Garland's bestselling record, and confirm that, yes, on certain levels, she still had it. Her vocals are as strong as ever on these tunes, and Garland has fun with an audience obviously enraptured by her charms. She's self-deprecating where necessary–on "You Go to My Head" she "forgets" the lyrics but pretends to improvise. Mostly she just shines, especially on tunes she made famous, such as "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Stormy Weather," and "Over the Rainbow." This is easily one of pop music's greatest live recordings and a fine testament to Garland's recorded legacy. This two-CD set has been remastered for EMI's 40th-anniversary reissue to coincide with the ABC film based on daughter Lorna Luft's memoir Me and My Shadows.