Linda Ronstadt (b. July 15, 1946) is a highly acclaimed veteran pop, rock, and country singer who became one of the top selling performing artists of the 1970s. A versatile performer with a clear, expressive, and powerful voice and a range spanning several octaves, she made her mark in such disparate genres as pop/rock, folk, country, R&B, jazz, traditional pop, light classical, and Latin over her decades-long career.
Born Linda Maria Ronstadt in Tucson, Arizona, she grew up in a musical family in which one of her earliest influences was the Mexican songs she and her siblings learned from their father. She began singing publically as a teenager along with her brother and sister as a trio billed as The Three Ronstadts. In late 1964, after completing her first semester in college, Ronstadt moved to Los Angeles where she joined Bobby Kimmel and Kenny Edwards to form The Stone Poneys and served as the group's lead singer. In 1969, she released her first solo album, "Hand Sown...Home Grown," and began touring actively during the early 1970s. Among the members of one of her first backing bands were future Eagles co-founders Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner.
Ronstadt made her debut with The Stone Poneys in 1967 on the Pop/Rock charts with the Mike Nesmith-penned "Different Drum," a baroque rock classic that helped define the late 1960s. She had her first charting solo song in 1970 with the romantic ballad, "Long Long Time," a Top 40 hit for which she earned her first Grammy nomination. Ronstadt's fame soared in 1974 with the chart-topping "You're No Good," a soft rock cover of the R&B song which was previously a hit for Betty Everett. A long string of hits followed through 1995 that also included "When Will I Be Loved" (1975), "Heatwave" (1975), "Love Is A Rose" (1975), "Blue Bayou" (1977), "It's So Easy" (1977), "Ooh Baby Baby" (1978), "How Do I Make You" (1980), "Hurt So Bad" (1980), "Somewhere Out There" (1986, with James Ingram), and "Don't Know Much" (1989, with Aaron Neville), with most of her hits crossing over to the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. In addition, many of her albums have been certified gold, platinum, or multiplatinum, with several topping the Billboard 200 and/or Billboard Top Country Albums charts during their respective years.
Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, and she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities that same year. Her numerous other honors include 11 Grammys, an Emmy, an ALMA Award, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, and several Billboard awards.
In 2011, Ronstadt announced her retirement after giving her final live concert in late 2009. She was diagnosed the following year with Parkinson's disease leaving her unable to sing.
- Linda Ronstadt reveals her encyclopedic knowledge of music in an interview with mixonline.com (Dec. 1, 2000).
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- When Will I Be Loved 1975
(This song was previously a hit for the Everly Brothers (1960).)
- You're No Good 1974
(This song, which topped the charts, was previously a hit in 1964 for both Betty Everett and the Swinging Blue Jeans.)
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