Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

RONSTADT, Linda

(b 15 July '46, Tucson AZ) Folk- pop singer. To LA '64; three LPs on Capitol with Stone Poneys '66--8 (trio with Bob Kimmel, Ken Edwards on guitars and vocals, backing musicians on disc): second Evergreen made top 100 LPs late '67 with top 20 track 'Different Drum'; first was reissued '75, made top 200. Solo albums on Capitol established country-rock status: Hand Sown, Home Grown did not chart; Silk Purse '70 incl. single hit 'Long Long Time'; Linda Ronstadt '72 incl. backing by all four original Eagles. Changed labels to Asylum with producer Peter Asher; Don't Cry Now '73 made top 50 LPs without a big hit single; Heart Like A Wheel appeared on Capitol, hit no. 1 late '74 with top two singles 'You're No Good' and 'When Will I Be Loved'. Top five LPs Prisoner In Disguise, Hasten Down The Wind '75--6 continued successful formula of well-chosen material carefully produced; Simple Dreams and Living In The USA '77--8 were no. 1 albums; Mad Love '80 no. 3; Get Closer '82 slipped to no. 31. Total of 18 hit singles by end of '82 incl. no. 3 cover of Roy Orbison's 'Blue Bayou' (three singles, five LPs hits in UK). Relationship with then Governor Jerry Brown of California in news late '70s. Her appearance on stage in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates Of Penzance was praised: perhaps showing an intelligent refusal, rare in pop, to showcase new songs just because they are new, she switched to songs from the Golden Age for What's New '83, mostly lesser known items by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, etc, arr./cond. by Nelson Riddle: unfortunately the sort of phrasing necessary in this genre was conspicuously absent. What's New sold well, as did Lush Life '84, incl. Billy Strayhorn title song, For Sentimental Reasons '86, also with Riddle, benefiting from better-known songs (it takes a Mabel Mercer or a Bobby Short to revive lesser-known ones); the three LPs were boxed in a set '86. She also sang on Philip Glass album Songs From Liquid Days '85 on CBS. She joined Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris in long-awaited Trio '87 on WEA: singing lead on the beautiful 'Telling Me Lies' (co-written by Linda Thompson and Betsy Cook), her gorgeous gospel-quality voice tumbles down the song in exactly the right way; when she sticks to what she does best she has no peer. Songs Of My Father (Canciones De Mi Padre) '88 was a Hispanic collection on Asylum; she switched to Elektra with Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind '89 (guest Aaron Neville on four tracks); Mas Canciones '91 was Mexican material, Frenesi '92 an attempt at Afro-Cuban music; Winter Light '93 made top 100 albums; Dedicated To The One I Love '96 was a lame concept album, pop songs and lullabies with the word 'baby' in the title crooned in a slowed-down manner which managed to be both soporific and creepy. Most CD reissues are on Elektra.