Celebrating Seniors - Linda Ronstadt Turns 69 - Pt 2of5

Linda Ronstadt - Pop, Rock and Country Queen

Enjoy this 5-part series celebrating Linda's 69th birthday this week on July 15 . Part Two - vintage music videos from her career 1975-1978: Love is a Rose, The Tracks of My Tears, Blue Bayou, It's So Easy, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, Just One Look

linda ronstadt 1974, heart like a wheel album cover, american singer, folk, pop, rock, country, mexican musicHot on the heels of all the hit singles and success from her Heart Like a Wheel album and singles successes in early 1975, Linda Ronstadt's 6th album Prisoner in Disguise, was released in the fall of 1975, quickly and jumped to the Top 5 Billboard Album Chart. The singles Heat Wave (a cover of the Martha and the Vandellas song) hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, matched by Love is a Rose hitting  #5 on Billboard's Country chart. Tracks of My Tears hit #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Many of her songs were crossover hits on the pop, rock, adult contemporary, and country music charts.

Love is a Rose - written by Neil Young - live in 1976:

The Tracks of My Tears was written by Smokey Robinson. Below, Linda Ronstadt's official music video of her performing The Tracks of My Tears circa 1975.

The next year, Linda's 7th album Hasten Down the Wind (1976) won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance again, and was a Top 3 Billboard Album. Her cover of That'll Be The Day (written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison) hit #11, while Crazy by Willie Nelson, was a Top 10 Country hit.

Linda Ronstadt's two-year relationship with comedian/actor Albert Brooks (they lived together for a year) had ended by the time her 8th album, Simple Dreams, was released in late 1977. Simple Dreams hit #1 on the Billboard 200 chart (in the U.S., Canada, and Australia) and was a record-making best-seller for a female artist (over 3.5 million copies sold in less than a year in the U.S.). More hit single covers from the album came in 1978, the same year she toured Europe.

Blue Bayou (written by Roy Orbison), was a #3 on Billboard US charts for Linda Ronstadt when she covered it. Below, she sings what became one of her trademark songs, Blue Bayou.

Another hit single for Linda Ronstadt was her cover of Buddy Holly's It's So Easy (written by Buddy Holly). She scored a #5 on Billboard US charts with the song. Below, she sings It's So Easy in the official music video.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me (written by Warren Zevon) was a#31 on Billboard US charts for Linda Ronstadt. Below, Ronstadt performs Poor Poor Pitiful Me live in 1996 for President Bill Clinton (& First Lady Hilary).

1978 was another stellar year for Linda Ronstadt. She performed the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards-penned Tumbling Dice in 1978's FM movie about disc jockeys, and her Living in the USA album - Ronstadt's 9th - resulted in three #1 Billboard Magazine Awards for the Year: Pop Female Singles Artist of the Year, Pop Female Album Artist of the Year, and Female Artist of the Year (overall). Rolling Stone magazine called her "by far America's best-known female rock singer." Ooh Baby Baby written by Smokey Robinson reached #7 on the Billboard US charts, and Alison - written by Elvis Costello - reached #30 on the Billboard US Adult Contemporary charts; along with these other tunes that charted: 

Just One Look - written by Doris Troy & Gregory Carroll - #5 on on Billboard US Adult Contemporary charts. Below, Linda Ronstadt performing Just One Look live in Hollywood in 1980.

Despite all chart successes, Linda Ronstadt never liked the way her voice sounded and always thought she could have sung it better in retrospect; in her senior years she has said she felt she didn't hit her stride musically until she started singing the old standards with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

In a 1978 Peter Herbst interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Ronstadt revealed her struggles with depression:

"Running is the best and I think the only real cure for depression. There have never been any drugs that I could take that would make depression go away. Depression, you know, seems to affect women worse, but it is such an insidious crippler because it starts and you are aware of it the first few days that you feel bad, and then it just kind of settles in and it prevents you from doing things. After a while you get used to it. You don't realize how much it's preventing you from living the way you want to live until something lifts it. I'm just so afraid of it now that it stops me completely cold. It I get depressed, I just go to bed for a week."

More Linda Ronstadt:

Linda Ronstadt Part One - Country and Rock Beginnings 1965-1974

Linda Ronstadt Part Three - The Jerry Brown Years 1979-1983

Linda Ronstadt Part Four – Diversification in the 80’s

Linda Ronstadt Part Five – Motherhood & Parkinson’s

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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