Posts Tagged ‘Linda Ronstadt’

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The first time Linda Ronstadt was heard in the Top 40 was in late 1967 with the song “Different Drum,” that Mike Nesmith wrote in 1965 and was first recorded by the bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys. Mike offered the song for a Monkees recording, but their management turned it down. The Stone Poneys’ version of “Different Drum” ended up being in the Top 40 at the same time as The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer,” which was written by John Stewart. The flip side of The Stone Poneys’ “Different Drum” was the Pamela Polland composition “I’ve Got to Know.” On this folk rock recording, Linda sang with emotion and power about wanting to know how her boyfriend felt about her, if he was thinking he might leave her and what he said when he talked about her. The Stone Poneys disbanded in 1968. Kenny Edwards, from the trio, returned to playing bass with Linda for her highly successful 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel.

“DESPERADO” (Asylum flip side of “Colorado,” 1974)

The third of three singles from Linda’s debut album on the Asylum label, “Don’t Cry Now”, was the country rock song “Colorado,” written by Rick Roberts, which originally appeared on the self-titled album by The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1971. That quintet included Rick Roberts on guitar along with Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel guitar, both who also perform on Linda’s slow and gentle version of the song. The flip side was a song that has since become a radio and concert staple, “Desperado,” written by the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey, which originally appeared as an album cut on their western concept album of the same name. Linda powerfully delivered the ballad, which is also included on her Live in Hollywood album, released this year from a 1980 concert, where she selected a dozen of her favourite performances.

“LOOK OUT FOR MY LOVE” (Asylum flip side of “I Can’t Let Go,” 1980)

Like her “Don’t Cry Now” album, Linda’s “Mad Love” album also contained three singles. The third was “I Can’t Let Go,” a song that just fell below the U.S. Top 40 in 1966 by The Hollies and was popularized in England the year before by Evie Sands. Chip Taylor : “I wrote the song with my talented and great friend, Al Gorgoni. When I had my album Last Chance out in the 1970s, I performed at The Troubadour club in L.A. and I met Linda. She seemed lovely and sweet. We shared a few words after my show at a backroom table. That’s a nice memory although I wished I said more. I was a bit shy in that setting. I am so pleased that she recorded one of my songs.” This is another song which also appears on this year’s Live in Hollywood album. The flip side of Linda’s powerful version of “I Can’t Let Go,” which she sang with Rosemary Butler and Nicolette Larson, was her electric take on Neil Young’s “Look Out for My Love,” a song that had a primarily acoustic delivery on his 1978 album Comes a Time. While Nicolette Larson provided harmony vocals on Neil Young’s album, Linda handled her own harmonies on her 1980 rendition.

“WINTER LIGHT” (Elektra flip side of “Heartbeats Accelerating,” 1993)

Linda’s 1993 album, “Winter Light”, included a unique spinning musical instrument. Dennis James said, “Linda called me, looking for a harmonica player and asked if I could drive on up to Marin county. Two hours later I had headsets on and began recording tracks for her album, including the single ‘Heartbeats Accelerating.’ She had first heard the ethereal sound of the rubbed glass Harmonica some 15 years before and I was thrilled to play on the record, which led to me appearing on three more of her albums. She has a perfectly pure vision of the exact sounds she seeks, much like a painter who has an intense colourist vision when preparing a palette. Linda extends a marvellous courtesy to her fellow musicians at all times. You always feel that you have a friend beside you.” The flip side of “Heartbeats Accelerating,” written by Anna McGarrigle, was the atmospheric title tune “Winter Light,” which Linda co-wrote and was on par with the new age sound heard from Enya, combined with a spiritually calm escape.

Laurel Canyon is a neighbourhood in Los Angeles, but for a lot of music fans it’s a time and place, and a shorthand for a mystical folk-rock sound that included Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, the Eagles and many more. This two-part docu-series, made by Alison Ellwood (who also directed The Go-Go’s), gives an overview of the scene, the sound and the people who made the music. “Through a wealth of rare and newly unearthed footage and audio recordings, the series features an intimate portrait of the artists who created a musical revolution that changed popular culture. Uniquely immersive and experiential, this event takes us back in time to a place where a rustic canyon in the heart of Los Angeles became a musical petri dish.”

Pulling back the curtain on a mythical world and provide an up-close look at the lives of the musicians who inhabited it.

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Linda Ronstadt – The biggest shout out to the great Linda Ronstadt celebrating her 74th birthday today. From the great sprawling Southwest on a ranch in Tucson, Arizona sprang Linda Ronstadt, destined to be among the greatest singer’s of her generation. She was exposed to a wide range of musical influences in her home during her formative years – Rock, Folk, Country, R & B, Pop, Light Opera, Doo-Wop and Mariachi – which she heard on the radio or sung by family members. Her home then was the incubator for her eclectic tastes over a 40-year career. Is there anyone in popular music with a more powerful voice, with a greater range, and with a stronger emotional connection to a lyric? And is there another female singer who has combined such wholesomeness with such sexiness?.

Ronstadt’s first taste of success came with the Folk-Rock group the Stone Poneys in 1967 with the Michael Nesmith song “Different Drum,” a Top 13 hit, which became a signature song for Ronstadt. The band broke up after a year and three albums, and Ronstadt went solo, scoring her first hit, “Long Long Time,” (1970) a beautiful ballad that was a precursor of things to come. For the next five years success eluded her. But she worked with Sweetwater, an early, notable Country Rock band, and the original Eagles for a short stint in 1971. While recording “Don’t Cry Now,” her third solo album and biggest seller to date and feeling the need for a producer with a compatible vision, she teamed up with Peter Asher (One half of the English Pop group Peter & Gordon and the brother of one-time Paul McCartney flame Jane Asher), which was the turning point for Ronstadt, and the partnership yielded immediate rewards with their professional relationship lasting from 1973 until 1988.

With the album “Heart Like a Wheel,” their first collaboration in late 1974, Ronstadt enjoyed her first #1 album with the hit singles “You’re No Good,”(#1) and “When Will I Be Loved,” (#2) on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. This was the first of six top Ten albums, including “Hasten Down the Wind,’ (1976). By the time of Simple Dreams (1977), Linda Ronstadt had few peers as an interpreter of rock, country and pop. Her unerring ear for material and incandescent vocals made her one of the decade’s most successful performers – that 1977 Asylum release includes a pair of songs from early rock ‘n’ roll greats Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison that became Top 10 singles (“It’s So Easy” and “Blue Bayou”), more recent rockers from The Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”) and Warren Zevon (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), and a country hit recorded with Dolly Parton (“I Never Will Marry”). Add the talents of some of L.A.’s best session players, and Simple Dreams couldn’t miss – it became Ronstadt’s fifth consecutive platinum LP, and spent weeks at No.1, knocking Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours out of the top slot.

“Living in the USA,” (1978) – the latter two both hitting number one. By decades end, Ronstadt had become the Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s – the reigning queen of album sales.

In the 1980s she branched out in new directions appearing on Broadway in “The Pirates of Penzance (which ran for nearly two years), and collaborating with conductor Nelson Riddle on three Pop standard’s albums, one of which “What’s New,” (1983) climbed to #3. A collaboration with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton in 1986 resulted in “Trio,” an album garnering a Grammy Award for Group Country vocal. The ensuing album in 1987 “Canciones de mi Padre,” an album of traditional Mexican songs, inspired by her childhood, also copped a Grammy Award for Mexican American album which went double platinum (2 million units sold). Finally, there was her collaboration with Aaron Neville in 1989 “Cry Like a Rainstorm,” featuring the smash duet “Don’t Know Much.” Flush with massive success, Ronstadt entered the 1990s on a high note. Though album sales dipped during the decade, there was “Mas Canciones,” a second album of Mexican songs (and yet another Grammy award winner), and a second “Trio,” album, with both faring well.

By the dawn of the new Millennium, Ronstadt had won every conceivable award (too many to cite here), and had collaborated with the crème de la crème of recording artists including Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Frank Zappa, Neil Young and a host of others. She has sold in excess of 100 million records and has had 10 Top 10 albums of the 36 that have charted, and three chart toppers. She finally received a long overdue award – an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, and in 2017 received a lifetime achievement artistic award at the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington DC… Ronstadt retired in 2009 and announced her Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2013. She has retreated to her home in the Sea Cliff section of San Francisco overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge…. It is a cruel irony that Ronstadt who was blessed with such a magnificent voice should be silenced by this disease, but her spirit is strong and she will always be loved by her multitude of fans, and will be elevated to the pantheon of the greatest vocalists who have ever walked this earth.

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If you love documentary film, music, beautiful stories, and, as I do, just plain love Linda Ronstadt, you won’t want to miss this beautifully told story of the woman with the greatest voice of my generation. She sang every kind of music as though she invented each one. It’s touching, accurate and filled with thrilling performances. It also has some delightful surprises and insights into a truly well lived life. Besides her beauty, her wit, and the hypnotic miracle of her singing, the real reveal here is that her thinking and her core beliefs are as original and well thought out as any you’ll hear. Lovingly shot, collected, and edited, it will probably make you leave the theatre with even more gratitude for her immense musical contribution and the bittersweet realization that she was and still is the only one of her. No one else comes close.
-JD Souther

In Linda Ronstadt: “The Sound Of My Voice”, Ronstadt is our guide through her early years of singing Mexican canciones with her family; her folk days with the Stone Poneys; and her reign as the “rock queen” of the ’70s and early ’80s. She was a pioneer for women in the male-dominated music industry; an early advocate for human rights, and had a high-profile romance with California governor Jerry Brown. Ultimately, her incredible voice was lost to Parkinson’s disease, but her music and influence remain as timeless as ever. With moving performance footage and appearances by collaborators including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt: “The Sound Of My Voice” celebrates an artist whose desire to share the music she loved made generations of fans fall in love with her – and the sound of her voice.


What album replaced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on top of the Album Charts after its 29-week stay?  The answer: Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams.  it was Ronstadt’s eighth studio album, it became one of her most successful and most beloved.  Now, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Grammy Award-winning Simple Dreams is receiving an expanded edition from Rhino Records.  It’s due on CD, vinyl LP, DD, on September 22nd.

The multi-platinum smash was Linda Ronstadt’s fifth consecutive release to cross the one-million sales threshold in the United States, also reaching the chart zenith in Canada and Australia (not to mention the top 20 in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and New Zealand).  In addition to displacing Rumours, it also displaced Elvis Presley from the top of the Country Albums chart, a true display of its cross-genre appeal.  Produced by Peter Asher, the album’s formula was simple: apply one of the greatest and most distinctive voices of a generation to some of its greatest songs.

Two of those classic songs – Roy Orbison and Joe Melson’s “Blue Bayou” and Buddy Holly and Norman Petty’s “It’s So Easy” both took a place within the U.S. top five, making Ronstadt the first artist since The Beatles to hold two spots within the top five at the same time.  A third hit, Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” also emerged from the LP, barely missing the top 30 at No. 31.  Zevon’s “Carmelita” was also featured on the album alongside songs by The Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”), J.D. Souther (“Simple Man, Simple Dream”) and Eric Kaz (“Sorrow Lives Here”).

Ronstadt was joined on the album by an all-star cast of musicians and guest background vocalists including Eagles Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, Andrew Gold, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Chris Ethridge, J.D. Souther, Spooner Oldham, Nino Tempo, David Lindley, Danny Kortchmar, and Waddy Wachtel.

The newly remastered Simple Dreams will include three bonus tracks, all derived from a concert which aired on HBO in 1980.  These live versions of the album’s three big hits  “It’s So Easy,” “Blue Bayou,” and “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” are all previously unreleased in standalone audio format.  On the vinyl version, these three bonus tracks will be included on a special 7-inch EP.  You can pre-order the expanded 40th anniversary edition of Simple Dreams at the links below; it’s due on September 22 from Rhino Records.

Linda Ronstadt, Simple Dreams (Asylum Records).

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Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions – Son Of A Lady

Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions are Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm Ó Cíosóig. This limited 10″ vinyl features new tracks alongside recordings from their 2016 critically acclaimed LP ‘Until The Hunter’ sessions.

The release includes an acoustic version of their album favourite ‘Let Me Get There’ featuring Kurt Vile as well as three new tracks Sleep, Son Of A Lady and Antiquity – the latter track being exclusive to the vinyl format.

Until The Hunter‘ also featured guest performances from longtime friends and collaborators Dirt Blue Gene, Mariee Sioux, Kurt Vile and the ‘Artist General’ Michael Masley.

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Siv Jakobsen  –  The Nordic Mellow

Having impressed with single Like I Used To earlier in the year, Norwegian songwriter Siv Jakobsen is now making waves with her debut album. Produced by Matt Ingram (Laura Marling, The Staves) at Urchin Studios in London, The Nordic Mellow is a brooding and intense work, loaded with the intimacy of her delicate voice, acoustic guitar, strings and unfiltered lyrics, that calls to mind the earlier works of Ane Brun and Laura Marling. It follows her seven-track EP from 2015, The Lingering.


Julia Jacklin  –  Eastwick / Cold Caller

Limited 7″ on Light Blue Vinyl. Julia Jacklin releases a new 7″ released via Transgressive Records. The first single Eastwick is a captivating, slow building track, inspired by a night in front of the TV watching Dancing With The Stars. It’s a bittersweet and mourning pop nugget.


Slotface – Try Not To Freak Out

Following 2 critically acclaimed digital-only EP’s, Slotface return with their debut album Try Not To Freak Out recorded with producer Dan Austin (Pixies, Doves, Queens Of The Stone Age). Try Not To Freak Out is nothing short of a massive rock record – one that weds the pop nous of Robyn and Blondie to the exuberant, freewheeling attack of bands like Joyce Manor and Little Big League.

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Flowers  –  Say 123

Limited Edition Red Vinyl 7” (300 copies). London trio Flowers return with a new single via Fortuna Pop!, the last to be released on the label, singer Rachel Kenedy’s ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar are, as always, backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley. Rachel told us a little bit about the genesis of the recordings: “Sean from Fortuna Pop! is sadly moving on to greener pastures in Japan and ending the label, but he asked us to do one last single for him, as we owed one for his Jukebox 45s Singles Club. We don’t know where we’ll end up next after Fortuna Pop!, so rather than looking forwards for this single we decided to be nostalgic and do something that, for us at least, is classic. For the three of us in the band, “Flowers” has always meant our live performances and our home demos, of which Sam and I have produced hundreds and hundreds (we write them every day), and most of which will probably never be heard by anyone except us, our dog and our long-suffering neighbours. Say 123 is one of these home recordings. The best bit is at the end. The b-side, Rhodes, was recorded at Big Jelly Studios, where we’d gone to record an EP. We realised after recording the songs we’d brought with us that we’d made a mistake, as the songs weren’t quite right or ready yet. But while we were there, we fell in love with the sound of the Fender Rhodes in the corner of the studio. With about half an hour left before the van arrived to take us back to London, Sam quickly played me some chords on guitar and hummed a melody for a verse. I got out a pencil and paper and somehow by the time all our gear was loaded into the van we’d written and recorded this song (we did it live and used one take).”


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Susanne Sundfor  – Music For People In Trouble

Acclaimed Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer Susanne Sundfor releases her highly anticipated new album Music For People In Trouble, through Bella Union. Sundfor’s most poignant and personal album to date, Music For People In Trouble marks her out as one of the most compelling artists in the world. The album was inspired by a journey Susanne made in a bid to re-connect, travelling across continents to contrary environments and politically contrasting worlds from North Korea to the Amazon jungle.

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Courtney Marie Andrews  –  Sea Town / Near You

Courtney Marie Andrews brings you the first new recordings since her highly successful album Honest Life. With an album already tipped for a place in everyone’s end of year lists under her belt, Courtney Marie Andrews wastes no time in following it up with two brand new songs. Songs written on the road about being on the road – “I’ve probably driven north up I-5 towards Seattle five hundred times by now. I wanted to write a song that documented that feeling I get when I’m driving back up north after many months spent on the road. So much of my life has been spent driving that portion of highway, and I wanted to sonically capture the feeling I get when I’m headed north for that sweet Sea Town.” These two songs are exclusive to this release.

Ariel pink dedicated to bobby jameson

Ariel Pink –  Dedicated To Bobby Jameson

Los Angeles’s prodigal songwriting son Ariel Pink shares his eleventh studio album, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson”. The album’s title makes a direct and heartfelt reference to a real-life L.A. musician, long presumed dead, who resurfaced online in 2007 after 35 reclusive years to pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades. Standout tracks from Dedicated to Bobby Jameson include Feels Like Heaven, a lovelorn insta-classic paying tribute to the promise of romance, Another Weekend, which encapsulates the lingering euphoria of a regrettable weekend over the edge, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson,” a rah-rah psych romp paying homage to L.A.’s punk history, and Time to Live, an ironic anti-suicide anthem that promotes survival as a form of resistance before devolving into a grungy, Video Killed the Radio Star-style breakdown that supposes life and death as being more or less the same fate and embraces the immortal anarchy of a rock song as an alternative to the prison of reality. Alternately contained and sprawling, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is a shimmering pop odyssey that represents more astonishing peaks and menacing valleys in the career of a man who, through sheer originality and nerve, has become an American rock and roll institution. The album marks his first full-length release with the Brooklyn-based label Mexican Summer.

The Doors   –  The Singles

Singles compiles all 20 of the singles from The Doors’ official discography. This not only includes every A and B-side from their core studio albums, but several albums recorded and released after the passing of frontman Jim Morrison, including Other Voices (1971) and Full Circle (1972) plus An American Prayer (the divisive 1978 album which put Morrison’s poetry recordings to music) and the 1983 live set Alive, She Cried. All tracks are sourced from the original analog single masters and remastered by the band’s engineer Bruce Botnick. That means all the original, unique and rare single mixes and edits will appear in this set, many for the first time on CD. The pot is sweetened even further with the presence of mono radio versions of “Hello, I Love You,” “Touch Me,” “Wishful Sinful” and “Tell All the People,” entirely unreleased since their appearance on promotional singles.  Two deluxe editions will also be available. One adds to the 2CD set a Blu-ray Audio disc of 1973’s quadraphonic The Best of The Doors. A vinyl version, limited to 10,000 copies and available through the band’s official web store, features all 20 45RPM singles in replicas of their original sleeves (with an enclosed poster featuring all those sleeves as well).

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Deer Tick  –  Vol 1

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Deer Tick  –  Vol 2

Deer Tick proves with their two new simultaneously released albums titled, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 that their punk-roots rock have only gotten better with age since their last LP. The twin albums complement one another but also stand independently. Vol. 1 is classic Deer Tick: folk-rooted acoustic guitars and soft piano cushion out-front vocals. Vol. 2 commits wholly to the band’s longtime garage-rock flirtations for a triumphant foray into punk. McCauley sees the two records as a natural progression as he’s always had one foot in each door. It’s been four years since Deer Tick’s last release, Negativity. In the meantime, Deer Tick – an all-consuming band known for constant touring and steady artist output – took a backseat. The band – made up of McCauley, guitarist Ian O’Neil, drummer Dennis Ryan, and bassist Christopher Ryan pursued solo and worked on others’ projects. Personal lives also underwent massive changes, especially for McCauley, who married Vanessa Carlton and became a dad. When the band came back together for their beloved after-party shows at the Newport Folk Festival, the reunion reminded them what they missed about creating with one another so they started making plans to go in the studio.


Steve Miller Band  – Ultimate Hits

Steve Miller Band’s Ultimate Hits, available as standard (1CD/2LP) or deluxe (2CD/4LP) packages, features the many AOR-oriented hits that made Miller’s first compilation, Greatest Hits ’74-’78, one of the highest-selling albums in America, including “The Joker,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like An Eagle” and “Jungle Love,” plus later hits like “Abracadabra” and “I Want to Make the World Turn Around.”  Rarities abound on both sets: the standard version includes unreleased live versions of “Living In The USA” and “Space Cowboy” plus a solo rendition of “Seasons” from Steve Miller Band’s 1969 album Brave New World. The deluxe edition features 40 tracks total, including all those rarities plus unreleased live versions of “Gangster of Love” and “Kow Kow Calculator,” a demo of “Take the Money and Run” and unheard studio versions of “Baby’s Callin’ Me Home” and “In the Midnight Hour,” for a total of eight bonus tracks in all

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Shawn Colvin – A Few Small Repairs – 20th Anniversary

Columbia / Legacy Recordings celebrate the 20th anniversary of Shawn Colvin’s masterpiece, A Few Small Repairs, with the release of a newly expanded edition of the album. A Few Small Repairs includes the Grammy Award-winning Sunny Came Home plus chart-toppers You and The Mona Lisa and Nothin’ On Me (the theme song for the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan). A Few Small Repairs reunited her with producer / cowriter John Leventhal (who’d helmed Steady On) and proved a watershed in the artist’s career and musical evolution. While her previous albums were founded mainly upon first-person confessionals, A Few Small Repairs saw Colvin foray into third-person storytelling with a powerful impact. Drawing from the downs and ups of her own life experiences, Shawn Colvin crafted an album of emotional complexity, nuance and revelation, combining images of traditional femininity and domesticity–wedding gowns, kitchens, white picket fences–with images of tools as metaphors for reparation. The album paints a searingly honest portrait of the scope of human relationships, from the acrimonious Get Out of This House to the wistful The Facts About Jimmy, a duet with Lyle Lovett, to the quiet resignation of Wichita Skyline to Sunny’s ultimate act of revenge in Sunny Came Home. With brutal honesty, Colvin examines the harrowing potential for emotional damage to the redemptive power of subsequent emotional redemption. This 20th anniversary edition is a newly remastered and expanded edition, featuring the 12 track original album (remastered) plus 7 rare and unreleased bonus songs. Enhanced artwork, includes newly written liner notes by Shawn Colvin and producer John Leventhal, plus recently discovered archival photographs.

Rusty Young  – Waitin’ for the Sun

Poco’s Rusty Young has a new solo album featuring ten original compositions inspired by artists and friends such as Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and America’s Gerry Beckley.  Waitin’ for the Sun was recorded at Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams 40th Anniversary Edition

40 years ago, Linda Ronstadt released one of the most successful albums of her ground breaking career in 1977 with Simple Dreams. The new expanded version features remastered audio plus a trio of live songs taken from a 1980 concert performance. Simple Dreams spawned two massive hits thanks to Ronstadt’s cover of Buddy Holly’s It’s So Easy and Roy Orbison’s Blue Bayou earning Ronstadt Grammy nominations for both Record of the Year and also Best Pop Vocal Performance Female. The album also won the Grammy for Best Recording Package. Along with major hits, Simple Dreams also featured several tracks that would emerge as fan favourites, like the singer’s take on Warren Zevon’s Poor Poor Pitiful Me and the Rolling Stones’ Tumbling Dice. Country superstar Dolly Parton joined Ronstadt on the traditional ballad I Never Will Marry. Almost a decade later, Ronstadt, Parton, and Emmylou Harris would release their first Trio album. In addition to newly remastered sound, the Expanded Edition of Simple Dreams also includes bonus live recordings of It’s So Easy, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, and Blue Bayou. All three are taken from a concert recording that originally aired on HBO in 1980 and are available here for the first time as standalone audio tracks.

Linda Ronstadt is as close as Americans get to genuine royalty,  blue jean queen, our ageless, evergreen desert rose. Throughout five tumultuous decades, she weathered every trend, fad, and fashion, dipping her toes into whatever genre she pleased, and nailing it every single time with a heartbreaking wail and the kind of undeniable rock star sparkle that would, in any other five-foot-tall, moon-eyed, barefoot folkie, seem thoroughly impossible.

For decades, she was, essentially, the female voice of American radio, her country-flecked laments and sweet agonies thrumming through the airwaves from coast to coast, keeping lonely hearts company and selling millions upon millions of records. One of Ronstadt’s most remarkable achievements was her ability to float effortlessly from one style of music to the next, transforming from sundress-twirling hippie goddess to denim-clad rock’n’roll vixen seemingly in the blink of an eye. From barn dances to Broadway, Ronstadt owned whatever musical passion she chased, and with each successive decade, her legend loomed larger. Her natural, breathtaking beauty and easy charm matched her formidable pipes, and throughout the 70s, she sold nearly as many posters as she did records.

There is no easy category to place Ronstadt. Since bursting onto the late 60s folk-rock scene with the Stone Poneys, her music has encompassed rock, jazz, country, pop, even classical. It’s almost as if she makes these classifications seem trivial, like music is just one vast playground for her to romp around in. Still, she is probably most well-known for three distinct styles.

Growing up in Tuscon Arizona, raised on 60s-era radio and Hank Williams records, Linda Ronstadt’s first foray into music was a three-piece coffeehouse folk act with her brother and sister. Thoroughly bit by the performing bug, 17 year old Ronstadt moved to LA, where she joined The Stone Poneys, a folk-rock band with whom she recorded three albums in a busy 15 month period. Their second album, 1967’s Evergreen, Vol 2, spawned one of Ronstadt’s most enduring hits, Different Drum. Written by Monkee Mike Nesmith, the sad but defiant kiss-off of Ronstadt’s gender-tweaked lyrics and her uniquely “torchy” vocal style not only sealed the Poney’s doom, but launched her career as a solo artist.

By the mid 70s, Linda Ronstadt was the highest paid woman in rock, her musical style eventually morphing from a proto-alt country to a sophisticated style of rock-inflected pop, as evidenced by chart burners like You’re No Good, When Will I Be Loved, It’s So Easy and Blue Bayou, She interpreted songs by everyone from the Everly Brothers to Warren Zevon, making every composition her own.

In 1978, she released the double-platinum Living In The USA, known as much for her cover of Chuck Berry’s Back In The USA as for the album’s cover photo, of Ronstadt in silk shorts, on roller skates. The album is a perfect snapshot of the era, a gleeful celebration of life, love, and rock n’ roll, and remains her most iconic.

Nearly ten years later, she returned to her roots with the Trio album, a collaboration with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, proving once again that when it comes to alternative country, Ronstadt practically invented the stuff. As the decades wore on, Ronstadt traveled down less raucous musical avenues. Rock’n’roll was a constant battle for her. One of the few women in an industry dominated by swaggering bull-gods, she held her own for decades but found solace and even more success in the jazz world, where she largely remained – along with the occasional foray into country and pop – for the remainder of her career.

In 2011, Ronstadt announced her retirement, and in 2013, revealed that she has Parkinson’s Disease and can no longer sing. A tragic end to a remarkable career, surely, but she leaves us with a huge body of work encompassing over two dozen albums. They’ll never be another singer quite like Linda. She made everything she touched cool. Even folk music. And of course roller skates.

thought I should add Linda Ronstadt’s version , recorded live for the BBC TV’s Old Grey Whistle Test, Taken from the “Heart Like A Wheel” album. Linda Ronstadt had brought in producer Peter Asher, who had worked on her previous superb album “Don’t Cry Now“, and multi-instrumentalist and arranger and Singer Songwriter Andrew Gold. The collaborative efforts of Asher and Gold have been credited over the years as contributing significantly to the album’s artistic success. 


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Born To Listen

to Rock, Country, Blues & Jazz

Blabber 'n' Smoke

A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings.

The Music Files

Rewind the Review

If My Records Could Talk

A stroll down memory lane through my music collection

The Fat Angel Sings

the best music of yesterday today and the tomorrow, every era every genre

Fuzzy Sun

Noiserock and heavy psychedelic music


Embracing new and established sounds

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