Her albums have sold over 100 million copies. She doesn’t sing publicly anymore. Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson’s.
Hit songs like “Heat Wave”, “Just One Look”, “That’ll Be The Day”, “Hurt So Bad”, “Blue Bayou”, “You’re No Good”, “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, “It’s So Easy”, “When Will I Be Loved” were some of her greatest hits. Singer/songwriters who influenced her earlier years are Canadian – writers like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Kate and Anne McGarrigle, Gordon Lightfoot, and Neil Young.
Amazingly, she related that it is difficult for her to listen to her earlier hits – she always felt she could do better. Ronstadt explains, “It’s just painful for me to listen to any of my old records. I can’t bear it. It’ll wreck my week, you know, ruin the month actually. I’ll always think I can’t sing and never was able to sing and now here’s proof. I guess because art is an ongoing process and you always think you’re going to correct the mistakes you made the day before.”
The three albums of the American Songbook released by Rondstadt with orchestrations by the popular arranger Nelson Riddle were powerhouse. Riddle was a big advocate of Ronstadt: “She’s got a strong, beautiful voice and really unbelievable power.”
Ronstadt’s memoir “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir” was released in 2013. President Obama awarded Ronstadt with a National Medal of Arts last year “for her one of kind voice … and helped paved the way for generation of women artists.”
As a musician, Linda Ronstadt possesses humility, an incredible work ethic and a voice that earned 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, and an American Latino Media Award.
It’s interesting to me that her perspective about her own musical talent and performance is so contrary to the actual excellence she demonstrated as a very fine singer.