About Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt has received just about every musical honor imaginable—Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors, and more—in a career spanning styles and eras. Ronstadt was born in Tucson, AZ, in 1946 but was living in L.A. at the right time to become part of the booming SoCal folk-rock scene. Her band the Stone Poneys scored a 1967 hit with Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum,” and by their third album, Ronstadt was getting star billing. She began a solo career with 1969’s Hand Sown…Home Grown, applying her huge but artfully modulated pipes to a more country-rocking sound. She soon scored her first real hit with the lovelorn ballad “Long Long Time,” but it was not until Peter Asher fully took over the production reins that she became a full-blown pop star. In the second half of the ’70s, Ronstadt turned out an unstoppable onslaught of smooth, soft-rocking hits, making a wide range of other artists’ songs her own, including Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” The Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved,” and The Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice.” She flirted briefly but memorably with New Wave on 1980’s Mad Love before making what was then a radical move for a baby-boomer pop singer: tackling the Great American Songbook on 1983’s What’s New. The shift was widely embraced, and she followed up with two similarly styled records. Ronstadt’s subsequent projects included Mexican songs (reflecting her background) and dream-team trio recordings with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. A degenerative condition subsequently rendered Ronstadt unable to sing, and she officially announced her retirement in 2011. She remains a pop and rock icon whose ascendance in an overwhelmingly male ’70s rock scene is an inspiration for generations to come.
BORNJuly 15, 1946