1960s1970s1980s1990s2000s2010sCountry MusicL E StoriesMusicMusic ConcertsPop MusicRock N Roll ConcertsRock N Roll Music

L E’s Stories – “Bone Daddy’s 1st Crush” – Our Tribute To The Gal With The Golden Pipes, Linda Ronstadt

Bone Daddy grew up in West Texas with many Latin American friends whose families were originally from Mexico….so, he had an early introduction to Mexican music….which he fell in love with when he was young….but the day that his friend Ramon introduced him to a Mexican American singer named Linda Ronstadt….who was absolutely beautiful….with a voice like an angel….for that is when he started to also love Mexican women….and little did he know that the seed of his love for all things “South of the Border” …..Mexican food, music and women…..would come full circle when he moved to Mexico in 2009 and met Roscio (Rosy)….who stole his heart like that Mexican girl who sang beautiful songs from way back in his youth.  As I post this story….I totally agree 100% with Bone Daddy…..that Linda Ronstadt was the greatest female singer of all time…..for she could sing English and Spanish…..while she sang country, folk, rock, ballads, jazz, Spanish, mariachi, corridos and baladas….as she sang it all.                                                 

Music – 1991 – Linda Ronstadt Live On Stage In Mexico City – Singing “Canciones De Mi Padre”  

 

Linda Ronstadt is a retired American singer who performed and recorded in diverse genres including rock, country, light opera, and Latin…..while she has earned 10 Grammy Awards….three American Music Awards….two Academy of Country Music awards….an Emmy Award….and an ALMA Award.  Many of her albums have been certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum in the United States and internationally. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. She was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Recording Academy in 2011….and was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy in 2016. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014….and on July 28, 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.  In 2019, she received a star jointly with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work as the group Trio.  Ronstadt was among the five honorees who received the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements at the annual event on December 8, 2019, in Washington, D.C., at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.                                   

Music – 1975 – Live At The Capitol Theatre – Linda Ronstadt Sings “Heart Like A Wheel”

 

Ronstadt has released 24 studio albums and 15 compilation or greatest hits albums….as she charted 38 US Billboard Hot 100 singles…..of which 21 of those singles reached the top 40….as ten reached the top 10….and one reached # 1 with “You’re No Good”…..while her duet with Aaron Neville, “Don’t Know Much” peaked at # 2 in December of 1989…..plus, she has charted 36 albums…..with ten top-10 albums and three # 1 albums on the US Billboard Pop Album Chart.                                                                                         

Linda Ronstadt – 1986 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Hollywoodd – Performing “You’re No Good” Live on Stage

Ronstadt has collaborated with artists in diverse genres, including Bette Midler, Billy Eckstine, Frank Zappa, Carla Bley, Rosemary Clooney, Flaco Jiménez, Philip Glass, Warren Zevon, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, and Nelson Riddle. She has lent her voice to over 120 albums and has sold more than 100 million records….thus making her one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time.  Christopher Loudon, of Jazz Times, wrote in 2004 that Ronstadt is “blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation.”                                                                   

Music – 1983 – Linda Ronstadt Live On Stage Singing “El Crucifijo de Piedra” And “Yo soy El Corrido”

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ronstadt visited a friend from Tucson, Bobby Kimmel, in Los Angeles during Easter break from college in 1964, and later that year, shortly before her eighteenth birthday, decided to move there permanently to form a band with him. Kimmel had already begun co-writing folk-rock songs with guitarist-songwriter   Kenny Edwards, and eventually the three of them were signed by Nik Venet to Capitol in the summer of 1966 as “the Stone Poneys”. The trio released three albums in a 15-month period in 1967–68: The Stone Poneys; Evergreen, Volume 2; and Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III. The band is widely known for their hit single “Different Drum” (written by Michael Nesmith prior to his joining the Monkees), which reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as number 12 in Cashbox magazine. Nearly 50 years later, the song remains one of Ronstadt’s most popular recordings.                                                    

Music – 1968 – Linda Ronstadt And The Stone Poneys -“Different Drum”

 

Still contractually obligated to Capitol Records, Ronstadt released her first solo album, Hand Sown … Home Grown in 1969…..which has been called the 1st alternative country record by a female recording artist. During this same period, she provided the vocals for some commercials during this period, including one for Remington electric razors, in which a multi-tracked Ronstadt and Frank Zappa claimed that the electric razor “cleans you, thrills you … may even keep you from getting busted”.                                       

TV Ad – 1967 – Linda Ronstadt & Frank Zappa For Remington Electric Razors                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ronstadt’s second solo album, Silk Purse, was released in March 1970….which was recorded entirely in Nashville….as it was produced by Elliot Mazer….whom Ronstadt chose on the advice of Janis Joplin….    who had worked with him on her Cheap Thrills album. The Silk Purse album cover showed Ronstadt in a muddy pigpen….while the back and inside cover depicted her onstage wearing bright red. Ronstadt has stated that she was not pleased with the album, although it provided her with her first solo hit the multi-format single “Long, Long Time”….and earned her first Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance/Female.

Music – 1970 – The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Show – Featuring Linda Ronstadt Singing “Long Long Time”

                                                                                                                                                                                      At this stage, Ronstadt began working with producer and boyfriend John Boylan….as she has said, “As soon as I started working with John Boylan, I started co-producing myself. I was always a part of my productions. But I always needed a producer who would carry out my whims.”  Also in 1971, Ronstadt began talking with David Geffen about moving from Capitol Records to Geffen’s Asylum Records label…. as she made the move shortly thereafter…..that’s when she began her fourth solo album, Don’t Cry Now, in 1973 with Boylan and John David “J.D.” Souther producing most of the album’s tracks….but needing someone willing to work with her as an equal, Ronstadt asked Peter Asher….who came highly recommended to her by James Taylor’s sister Kate Taylor, to help produce two of them with “Sail Away” and “I Believe in You”….as the album featured Ronstadt’s first country hit, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”….which she had first recorded on Hand Sown … Home Grown….while this time making the Country Top 20…..and shortly thereafter with the release of Don’t Cry Now….that’s when Ronstadt took on her biggest gig to date as the opening act on Neil Young’s Time Fades Away tour….thus, playing for larger crowds than ever before…..when backstage at a concert in Texas, Chris Hillman introduced her to  Emmylou Harris, telling them…. “You two could be good friends” ….which soon happened….which  resulted in frequent collaborations over the years to come….and all the while, the album became Ronstadt’s most successful at that point in her career by selling 300,000 copies by the end of 1974.                     

Music – 1969 – Linda Ronstadt Live On Stage Performing “Silver Threads And Golden Needle”

Asher turned out to be more collaborative….while being more on the same page with her musically, than any producer she had worked with previously…..as her professional relationship with Asher allowed her to take command and effectively delegate responsibilities in the recording studio…..although hesitant at first to work with her because of her reputation for being a “woman of strong opinions who knew what she wanted to do with her career”….for Asher nonetheless agreed to become her full-time producer….and remained in that role through the late 1980’s.  Asher attributed the long-term success of his working relationship with Ronstadt to the fact that he was the first person to manage and produce her with whom there was a solely professional relationship…..saying “It must be a lot harder to have objective conversations about someone’s career when it’s someone you sleep with.”…..as Asher would executive produce a tribute CD called Listen to Me: Buddy Holly….which was released September 6, 2011….on which Ronstadt’s 1976 version of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” appears among newly recorded versions of Holly’s songs by various artists.

 

Music – 1976 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Offenbach, Germany – Singing “That’ll Be The Day”                                       

Ronstadt captured the sounds of country music and the rhythms of ranchero music…..of which in 1968 she likened to “Mexican bluegrass” …..while she redirected them into her rock ‘n’ roll and some of her pop music…..as many of these rhythms and sounds were part of her Southwestern roots…..also, a country sound and style….which was a fusion of country music and rock ‘n’ roll called country rock started to exert its influence on mainstream pop music around the late 1960’s….and it became an emerging movement Ronstadt helped form and commercialize. However, as early as 1970, Ronstadt was being criticized by music “purists” for her “brand of music” which crossed many genres.  Country Western Stars magazine wrote in 1970 that “Rock people thought she was too gentle, folk people thought she was too pop, and pop people didn’t quite understand where she was at, but Country people really loved Linda.” She never categorized herself and stuck to her genre-crossing brand of music…..cuz simply put….she could do it all.                                                                                                                                                     

Music – 1979 – Linda Ronstadt Sings “Desperado”

 

Ronstadt’s natural vocal range spans several octaves from contralto to soprano, and occasionally she will showcase this entire range within a single work. Ronstadt was the first female artist in popular music history to accumulate four consecutive platinum albums (fourteen certified million selling, to date). As for the singles, Rolling Stone pointed out that a whole generation, “but for her, might never have heard the work of artists such as Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello, and Chuck Berry.”   Music is meant to lighten your load. By singing it … you release (the sadness). And release yourself … an exercise in exorcism. … You exorcise that emotion … and diminish sadness and feel joy.                                                                                                        

Music – 1983 – MoTown 25th Anniversary Special – Smokey Robinson & Linda Ronstadt – Performing “Ooo Baby Baby” + “Tracks Of My Tears”

 

Others have argued that Ronstadt had the same generational effect with her Great American Songbook  music, exposing a whole new generation to the music of the 1920’s and 1930’s – music which was pushed aside because of the advent of rock ‘n’ roll. When interpreting, Ronstadt said she “sticks to what the music demands”, in terms of lyrics. Explaining that rock and roll music is part of her culture, she says that the songs she sang after her rock and roll hits were part of her soul. “The (Mariachi music) was my father’s side of the soul,” she was quoted as saying in a 1998 interview she gave at her Tucson home. “My mother’s side of my soul was the Nelson Riddle stuff. And I had to do them both to reestablish who I was.”

Music – 1985 – Linda Ronstadt & Flaco Jimenez – “El Puente Rojo”                                                                            

In the 1974 book Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman, author Katherine Orloff writes that Ronstadt’s “own musical preferences run strongly to rhythm and blues, the type of music she most frequently chooses to listen to … (and) her goal is to … be soulful too. With this in mind, Ronstadt fuses country and rock into a special union.”  By this stage of her career, Ronstadt had established her niche in the field of country-rock. Along with other musicians such as the Flying Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Swampwater,  Neil Young, and the Eagles, she helped free country music from stereotypes and showed rockers that country was okay. However, she stated that she was being pushed hard into singing more rock and roll.              

Music – 1980 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Concert – Singing “Just One Look:”

 

Author Andrew Greeley, in his book God in Popular Culture, described Ronstadt as “the most successful and certainly the most durable and most gifted woman Rock singer of her era.” Signaling her wide popularity as a concert artist, outside of the singles charts and the recording studio, Dirty Linen magazine describes her as the “first true woman rock ‘n’ roll superstar … (selling) out stadiums with a string of mega-successful albums.” Amazon.com defines her as the American female rock superstar of the decade. Cashbox gave Ronstadt a Special Decade Award as the top-selling female singer of the 1970’s.                                                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1977 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Atlanta – Singing “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”                                                

Her album covers, posters, magazine covers….along with her entire rock ‘n’ roll image….were as famous as her music…..when by the end of the decade, the singer whom the Chicago Sun Times described as the “Dean of the 1970’s school of female rock singers”  became what Redbook called “the most successful female rock star in the world.”…..for “Female” was the important qualifier, according to Time magazine, which labeled her “a rarity to have survived in the shark-infested deeps of rock.”  Although Ronstadt had been a cult favorite on the music scene for several years, 1975 was “remembered in the music biz as the year when 29-year-old Linda Ronstadt belatedly happened.”                                                                                        

Music – 1980 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Hollywood – Performs “It’s So Easy To Fall In Love”

 

With the release of “Heart Like a Wheel”….which was ‌named after one of the album’s songs and written by Anna McGarrigle‍….‌Ronstadt reached # 1 on the Billboard 200 chart….as it was also the 1st of four #1 Country Albums….while the disc was certified double-platinum with over two million copies sold in the U.S…..cuz the truth be known, in many instances, her own interpretations were more successful than the original recordings….and many times new songwriters were discovered by a larger audience as a result of her interpretation and recording…..for Linda Ronstadt had major success interpreting songs from a diverse spectrum of artists.                                                                                                                                             

Music – 1980 – Linda Ronstadt Live In Hollywood – Singing “When Will I Be Loved”

Heart Like a Wheels first single release, “You’re No Good” – a rock version of an R&B song written by Clint Ballard, Jr. that Ronstadt had initially resisted because Andrew Gold’s guitar tracks sounded too much like a “Beatles song” to her….but it climbed to # 1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box Pop singles charts. The album’s second single release, “When Will I Be Loved”…. which was an uptempo country-rock version of a Top 10 Everly Brothers song…..also hit # 1 in Cashbox and # 2 in Billboard……as the song was also Ronstadt’s first # 1 country hit.  The album showed an attractive Ronstadt on the cover but, more importantly, its critical and commercial success was due to a fine presentation of country and rock ….with Heart Like a Wheel being her first of many major commercial successes that would set her on the path to being one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Ronstadt won her first Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance/Female for “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)”…… which was originally a 1940’s hit by Hank Williams…..as Ronstadt’s interpretation peaked at # 2 on the country chart…..while the album itself was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy.Award.                               

Music – 1974 – Linda Ronstadt – “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You”

 

Rolling Stone put Ronstadt on its cover in March 1975…..as It was the 1st of six Rolling Stone covers shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz…..which included Ronstadt as the featured artist with a full photo layout and an article by Ben Fong-Torres….while discussing Ronstadt’s many struggling years in rock n roll….as well as her home life and what it was like to be a woman on tour in a decidedly all-male environment…. after which her album Prisoner in Disguise was released….which quickly climbed into the Top Five on the Billboard Album Chart….while selling over a million copies….as it became her second in a row to go platinum, “a grand slam”….and by the end of 1975, Ronstadt would become the first female artist in popular music history to have three consecutive platinum albums….and would ultimately go on to have eight consecutive platinum albums…..along with another six between 1983 and 1990.  The disc’s first single release was “Love Is A Rose”…..which was climbing the pop and country charts…..but “Heat Wave”, a rock  version of the 1963 hit by Martha and the Vandellas, was receiving considerable airplay…. so, Asylum pulled the “Love Is a Rose” single and issued “Heat Wave” with “Love Is a Rose” on the B-side…..when “Heat Wave” hit the Top Five on Billboards Hot 100 while “Love Is A Rose” hit the Top Five on Billboard’s country chart.                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1975 – Linda Ronstadt – “Heat Wave”

 

In 1976, Ronstadt reached the Top 3 of Billboards Album Chart and won her second career Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her third consecutive platinum album Hasten Down the Wind. The album featured a sexy, revealing cover shot and showcased Ronstadt the singer-songwriter, who composed two of its songs, “Try Me Again” (co-authored with Andrew Gold) and “Lo Siento Mi Vida”. It also included an interpretation of Willie Nelson’s ballad “Crazy”, which became a Top 10 Country hit for Ronstadt in early 1977.                                                                                                                                                   

Music – 1977 – Live In Atlanta – Linda Ronstadt Sings “Love Is A Rose”

 

At the end of 1977, Ronstadt surpassed the success of Heart Like a Wheel with her album Simple Dreams, which held the # 1 position for five consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200 chart…..while selling over 3½ million copies in less than a year in the U.S. alone….which is still  a record for a female artist…..as the album spawned a string of hit singles on numerous charts…..for among them were the RIAA platinum-certified single “Blue Bayou”…..a country rock interpretation of a Roy Orbison song “It’s So Easy”….plus  a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”…..and a song written by Warren Zevon, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”.  The album garnered several Grammy Award nominations….which included Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance/Female for “Blue Bayou”…..while winning its art director, Kosh, a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover….which was the first of three Grammy Awards he would win for designing Ronstadt album covers.  In late 1977, Ronstadt became the first female recording artist to have two songs in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten at the same time with “Blue Bayou” at # 3….while “It’s So Easy” was at # 5.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Music – 1980 – Linda Ronstadt Live – Singing “Blue Bayou”

 

Simple Dreams became one of the singer’s best-selling international-selling albums as well….while reaching # 1 on the Australian and Canadian Pop and Country Albums charts…..as the album also made Ronstadt the most successful international female touring artist. The same year, she completed a concert tour around Europe. As Country Music magazine wrote in October 1978, Simple Dreams solidified Ronstadt’s role as “easily the most successful female rock and roll and country star at this time.”  Also in 1977, she was asked by the Los Angeles Dodgers to sing the U.S. National Anthem at game three of the World Series against the New York Yankees.                                                                                                        

Music – 1977 – MLB World Series Game 3 Yankees Vs Dodgers – Linda Ronstadt Sings “The Star Spangled Banner”

In the summer of 1980, Ronstadt began rehearsals for the first of several leads in Broadway musicals…..as Joseph Papp cast her as the lead in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, alongside Kevin Kline…..as she said singing Gilbert and Sullivan was a natural choice for her, since her grandfather Fred Ronstadt was credited with having created Tucson‘s first orchestra, the Club Filarmonico Tucsonense, and had once created an arrangement of The Pirates of Penzance.  The Pirates of Penzance opened for a limited engagement in New York City’s Central Park….while eventually moving its production to Broadway….where it became a hit that ran from January 8, 1981, to November 28, 1982…..as Newsweek was effusive in its praise: “… she has not dodged the coloratura demands of her role (and Mabel is one of the most demanding parts in the G&S canon): from her entrance trilling ‘Poor Wand’ring One,’ it is clear that she is prepared to scale whatever soprano peaks stand in her way.”  Ronstadt co-starred with Kline and Angela Lansbury in the 1983 operetta’s film version….as this was her only acting role in a motion picture….for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for the role in the film version…..while garnering a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical….and The Pirates of Penzance won several Tony Awards, including a Tony Award for Best Revival.                                                                                 

Music – 1980 – Broadway Operette – The Pirates Of Penzance – With Linda Ronstadt Singing “Poor Wandering One”

 

After many years of trying, in January 1986, Dolly Parton, EmmyLou Harris and Linda Ronstadt eventually did make their way into the recording studio….where they spent the next several months working….and the result was the album, Trio….which they had conceived ten years earlier….was finally released in March 1987…..which was a considerable hit….while holding the # 1 position on Billboard’s Country Albums chart for five weeks running….and hitting the Top 10 on the pop side also…..while selling over three million copies in the U.S…..and winning them a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal….as it produced four Top Ten Country singles including “To Know Him Is to Love Him” which hit # 1. The album was also a nominee for overall Album of the Year, in the company of Michael Jackson, U2, Prince and Whitney Houston.                                                                                                                   

Music – 1985 – Linda Ronstadt – “I Will Always Love You”

 

In 1994, the three performers recorded a follow-up to Trio. As was the case with their aborted 1978 effort, conflicting schedules and competing priorities delayed the album’s release indefinitely. Ronstadt, who had already paid for studio time‍—‌and owed her record company a finished album‍—‌removed Parton’s individual tracks at Parton’s request, kept Harris’s vocals, and produced a number of the recordings, which she subsequently released on her 1995 return to country rock, the album Feels Like Home.  However, in 1999, Ronstadt, Parton, and Harris agreed to release the Trio II album, as was originally recorded in 1994. It included an ethereal cover of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” which became a popular music video. The effort was certified Gold (over 500,000 copies sold) and won them a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the track. Ronstadt co-produced the album with George Massenburg and the three ladies also received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Country Album.

Music – 2016 – Sunday Night Special – The Trio With Dolly Parton + Emmy Lou Harris + Linda Ronstadt Collaboration

                                                                                                                                                                                    In 2000, Ronstadt completed her long contractual relationship with the Elektra/Asylum label. The fulfillment of this contract commenced with the release of A Merry Little Christmas, her first holiday collection…..which includes rare choral works, the somber Joni Mitchell song “River”…..and a rare recorded duet with the late Rosemary Clooney on Clooney’s signature song, “White Christmas”.                       

Music – 2000 – Linda Ronstadt – “River”

 

Music – 2000 – Rosemary Clooney & Linda Ronstadt Duet – “White Christmas”

 

Music – 2000 – Linda Ronstadt – “The Christmas Song”

Ronstadt reduced her activity after 2000 when she felt her singing voice deteriorating…..while releasing her last full-length album in 2004….and performing her last live concert in 2009. She announced her retirement in 2011….and revealed shortly afterwards that she is no longer able to sing as a result of a degenerative condition later determined to be progressive supranuclear palsy. Since then, Ronstadt has continued to make public appearances, going on a number of public speaking tours in the 2010’s. She published an autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, in September 2013.  A documentary based on her memoirs, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, was released in 2019.                                            

Music – 2019 – Official Movie Trailer – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice

 

Any way you cut the pie…..Linda Ronstadt was a once in a lifetime talent…..with a voice like an angel….and “as cute as a little lady bug”…..and how lucky was the world to have this voice for all the years we had it…..for she can make a heart ache or make a broken heart whole…..while she can touch those deemed untouchable….and she can enlighten those who thought life had no passion or hope…so, yes, how lucky was the world to have this voice…..as we thank you Linda Ronstadt for that voice, those emotions and these gifts of sound….cuz they will last forever…..and from this lil cheeweenie Sportsphile, I thank you for being Bone Daddy’s first crush….as legendary singer / songwriter Willie Nelson put it…..“There’s two kinds of men in the world. Those who have a crush on Linda Ronstadt, and them who never heard of her.”                                                                                                                                                        

Music – 1976 – Linda Ronstadt Sings Dos Rancheras

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button