Linda Ronstadt has established one of the most impressive careers in the history of contemporary music. As one of the more beloved singers of our generation, she has broadened the latitudes of the pop singer, expanding the vocalist’s canvas to include country, rock n’ roll, big band, jazz, opera, Broadway, Mexican and Afro-Cuban influences, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of the ultimate song. She has had worldwide album sales of more than 50 million, and countless gold, platinum, and Grammy award-winning records to her credit.
Linda Ronstadt began her pop career in 1967 singing in Los Angeles, California, with the folk-rock group, Stone Poneys. She scored her first hit single with the song “Different Drum”, written by Monkees member Michael Nesmith.
Her first solo hit single came in 1970, with the country-rock crossover single, “Long Long Time”. She achieved her greatest commercial success during the 1970s, with a string of platinum albums, as she branched out from the earlier country rock sound to include more conventional rock, often covering early classics from the 1950s and early 1960s.
Her breakthrough year was 1974, when she released a series of hits beginning with the single “You’re No Good”, followed by “When Will I Be Loved”, “Heat Wave”, “That’ll Be the Day”, and “It’s So Easy”. She hit number one on the Billboard magazine charts with her 1974 album, Heart Like a Wheel, and followed that up with the Number One albums, Simple Dreams in 1977 and Living in the U.S.A. in 1978. In 1980 she released an album of new wave covers of such artists as Elvis Costello and the Cretones, an album which continued her streak of hits with “Hurt So Bad”, “How Do I Make You”, and “I Can’t Let Go”.
With 30 albums under her belt, and countless sold out tours across the globe, she has snagged ten Grammys along the way, releasing Hasten Down the Wind and several other critically acclaimed forays into waters not usually chartered by a pop star of her magnitude. Her stylistic ventures into Mexican music, Big Band classics, and pop standards solidified her reputation as one of America’s premier songsmiths.
In 1987, Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris released their long-awaited Trio album, which they first conceived ten years earlier, to critical acclaim. The album won a Grammy and spawned four top-ten country singles. (They followed it up with a second album, Trio II, in 1999.)
Ronstadt constantly challenges herself as she interprets material from some of rock’s most profound songwriters. Her latest release, Adieu False Heart (2006), with Cajun folk traditionalist Ann Savoy, shows her wide range of styles. Complementary contrasts between Ronstadt’s purity of tone and Savoy’s expressiveness turn folk songs into art songs, drawing as much upon chamber strings as Cajun fiddle and accordion. The range of material extends from Cajun songs in French patois to stellar material from Julie Miller and Richard Thompson.