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Category:    Home > Essays > News > Biography > Health > Music > The Music Legacy Of The Linda Ronstadt

The Music Legacy Of The Linda Ronstadt

One of the most successful female vocalists of all time, Linda Ronstadt started having hits in the late 1960s with her band Stone Ponys. Different Drum was written by Monkees' member Michael Nesmith and was enough of a hit that she decided to go solo the next year. Staying at Capitol Records, she had two more hits with Long Long Time, You're No Good and When Will I Be Loved, but soon moved to Asylum records where her career really took off. In an era of remakes (marked by 1950s nostalgia and George Lucas' American Graffiti (1974)),she was the queen with huge hits out of classics like Tracks Of My Tears, Heat Wave, It's So Easy, Ooh Baby Baby, Hurt So Bad and Get Closer.

Along with Olivia Newton-John, Helen Reddy, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Carole King, Roberta Flack and Barbra Streisand, she was one of the 1970s top singers, continuing in the 1980s with new arrivals like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston and so many others. By then she was doing movie themes, duets and two ambitious albums that were critical and commercial hits: the Trio album with Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris and What's New album, where she teamed with the great Nelson Riddle to do covers of Cole Porter classics. The latter is now one of the most imitated albums of the last 40 years.

If all the artists who decided to do style/genre switching albums sent Ronstadt a royalty for what she pulled off there, she could have bought LucasFilm!

A stickler for sonic fidelity, her music sounds as fresh as when she first recorded it and usually made the songs her own, or at least came up with remakes that made sense and made the songs popular all over again. But it was her all out vocal effort and clever phrasing (think how amazing her work on Blue Bayou really is) that made her such a huge success. She loved music, had the voice and always gave it her best efforts and then some when cutting her music.

We recently found out that due to the awful illness known as Parkinson's Disease, she will soon no longer be able to sing. We have seen bad health hurt many performers (Kris Kristofferson and Glen Campbell dealing with Alzheimer's Disease among the many should-have-been-cured-by-now illnesses hurting us all) and yet, it is always a shock when the next person is hit with it, especially a well known name of someone we love, grew up with and have such huge respect for.

Ronstadt could have only had a few hits, but people just loved her, loved her work and she kept coming back again and again in ways that were always great. It is sad what is happening to her and it is also great she has such strong support from her friends and loved ones in and out of an industry that is not as supportive of its artists as it used to be. She is an American Original who by loving and backing Americana and its music became a permanent part of it and that is why we'll all always love her and her work.

This was originally featired as part of the Summer/Fall 2014 Newsletter.


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