Linda Maria Ronstadt (born July 15, 1946) is a retired American singer who performed and recorded in diverse genres including rock, country, light opera, the Great American Songbook, and Latin. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, and an ALMA Award. Many of her albums have been certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum in the United States and internationally. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. She was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Recording Academy in 2011 and also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy in 2016.
She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On July 28, 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities. In 2019, she received a star jointly with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work as the group Trio. Ronstadt was among five honorees who received the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.
Ronstadt has released 24 studio albums and 15 compilation or greatest hits albums. She charted 38 US Billboard Hot 100 singles. Twenty-one of those singles reached the top 40, ten reached the top 10, and one reached number one (“You’re No Good”). Ronstadt also charted in UK as two of her duets, “Somewhere Out There” with James Ingram and “Don’t Know Much” with Aaron Neville, peaked at numbers 8 and 2 respectively and the single “Blue Bayou” reached number 35 on the UK Singles charts. She has charted 36 albums, ten top-10 albums, and three number 1 albums on the US Billboard Pop Album Chart.
Ronstadt has collaborated with artists in diverse genres, including: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Billy Eckstine, Frank Zappa, Carla Bley (Escalator Over the Hill), Rosemary Clooney, Flaco Jiménez, Philip Glass, Warren Zevon, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, and Nelson Riddle. She has lent her voice to over 120 albums and has sold more than 100 million records, making her one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. Christopher Loudon, of Jazz Times, wrote in 2004 that Ronstadt is “blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation.”
Ronstadt reduced her activity after 2000 when she felt her singing voice deteriorating, releasing her last full-length album in 2004 and performing her last live concert in 2009. She announced her retirement in 2011 and revealed shortly afterwards that she is no longer able to sing as a result of a degenerative condition later determined to be progressive supranuclear palsy. Since then, Ronstadt has continued to make public appearances, going on a number of public speaking tours in the 2010s. She published an autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, in September 2013. A documentary based on her memoirs, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, was released in 2019. (wikipedia)
Simple Dreams is the eighth studio album by the American singer Linda Ronstadt, released in 1977 by Asylum Records. It includes several of her best-known songs, including her cover of the Rolling Stones song “Tumbling Dice” (featured in the film FM) and her version of the Roy Orbison song “Blue Bayou”, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. The album also contains covers of the Buddy Holly song “It’s So Easy!” (a top-5 hit) and the Warren Zevon songs “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” (another top-40 hit) and “Carmelita”. The album was the best-selling studio album of her career, and at the time was the second best-selling album by a female artist (behind only Carole King’s Tapestry). It was her first album since Don’t Cry Now without long-time musical collaborator Andrew Gold, though it features several of the other Laurel Canyon-based session musicians who appeared on her prior albums, including guitarists Dan Dugmore and Waddy Wachtel, bassist Kenny Edwards, and producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Asher.
The album was originally released by Asylum in the LP format in September 1977 (catalogue number 104 or 6E-104). Later, in 1986, Asylum released the album in the Cassette format (TCS-104) and in the CD format (2-104). The album has never been out of print.
One of the most successful albums of Ronstadt’s career, Simple Dreams spent five successive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard album chart in late 1977, displacing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours after it had held that position for a record-breaking 29 weeks. It also knocked Elvis Presley out of the number 1 position on the Billboard Country Albums chart after “The King” had held it for fifteen consecutive weeks following his death in August. Simple Dreams was Ronstadt’s fifth consecutive million-selling platinum album and sold over 3½ million copies in less than a year in the United States alone—a record for a female artist. Among female recording artists at that time, only Carole King, with her album Tapestry, had sold more copies of one album.
The album was such a success that Ronstadt became the first female artist—and the first act overall since The Beatles—to have two singles in the top five at the same time: the Platinum-certified “Blue Bayou” (#3 Pop, #3 Adult Contemporary, and #2 Country) and “It’s So Easy” (#5 Pop). “It’s So Easy” was originally recorded by Buddy Holly and The Crickets in 1958 but had failed to chart in its original version. It was Ronstadt’s second cover of a Holly song to become a hit in as many years; she had taken a rousing cover of “That’ll Be the Day” to #11 Pop in 1976, using a similar arrangement.
The album includes songs by Warren Zevon, Eric Kaz, and J.D. Souther, as well as The Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”. Ronstadt was joined by Dolly Parton on the traditional ballad “I Never Will Marry”, which became a Top 10 Country hit during the summer of 1978. (Ronstadt, Parton, and Emmylou Harris were also working on an ill-fated collaborative project around this same time, but nine years would pass before the release of their first Trio album.)
Ronstadt also recorded a Spanish-language version of “Blue Bayou” entitled “Lago Azul” only released as a single in 1978 (Asylum E-45464). The album’s 40th anniversary reissue in 2017, augmented by the addition of four live tracks, likewise omits this recording.
Originally, the cover photograph was to show Ronstadt dressed in a mini-slip and seated in front of multiple mirrors. Uncomfortable with the physical exposure, she changed into a robe, and the picture was made artificially grainy. A retouched photo from the original photo sessions was included on the inner sleeve of her platinum-plus album Greatest Hits, Volume 2, released in 1980. At the 20th Grammy Awards, John Kosh won the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for Simple Dreams.
Reviewing in Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote:
“In which Andrew Gold goes off and Pursues His Solo Career, enabling Ronstadt to hire herself a rock and roll band. She’s still too predictable—imagine how terse and eloquent ‘Blue Bayou’ would seem if instead of turning up the volume midway through she just hit one high note at the end—but she’s also a pop eclectic for our time, as comfortable with Mick Jagger as with Dolly Parton, interpreting Roy Orbison as easily as Buddy Holly. Even her portrayal of a junkie seeking succor from Warren Zevon’s ‘Carmelita; isn’t totally ridiculous. And I admit it—she looks great in a Dodger jacket.”
“Blue Bayou” was nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy award in early 1978. It also earned Ronstadt a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female, alongside Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, and Debby Boone. (wikipedia)
Featuring a broader array of styles than any previous Linda Ronstadt record, Simple Dreams reconfirms her substantial talents as an interpretive singer. Ronstadt sings Dolly Parton (“I Never Will Marry”) with the same conviction as the Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”), and she manages to update Roy Orbison (“Blue Bayou”) and direct attention to the caustic, fledgling singer/songwriter Warren Zevon (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “Carmelita”). The consistently adventurous material and Ronstadt’s powerful performance makes the record rival Heart Like a Wheel in sheer overall quality. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
Mike Auldridge (dobro on 05. + 10.)
David Campbell (viola on 03.)
Dan Dugmore (guitar on 01.,02.,07. + 09., pedal steel guitar on 03. + 06.)
Kenny Edwards (bass on 01., 02. 03.,06. – 09., mandolin on 06., background vocals)
Richard Feves (bass on 03.)
Steve Forman (marimba on 06.)
Don Grolnick (clavinet on 01. + 07., organ on 02., piano on 03. 04., 06. + 09.)
Dennis Karmazyn (cello on 03.)
Rick Marotta (drums. syndrums, percussion)
Linda Ronstadt (vocals, guitar on 05. + 10.)
Charles Veal (violin on 03)
Waddy Wachtel (guitar, slide guitar on 09.) (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
Dolly Parton – Don Henley – Larry Hagler – JD Souther – Herb Pedersen – Peter Asher
Personnel on the live tracks:
Peter Asher (backround vocals)
Dan Dugmore (guitar)
Kenny Edwards (bass, background vocals)
Rick Marotta (drums)
Linda Ronstadt (vocals)
Waddy Wachtel (guitar, background vocals)
01. It’s So Easy (Holly/Petty) 2.26
02. Carmelita (Zevon) 3.02
03. Simple Man, Simple Dream (Souther) 3.07
04. Sorrow Lives Here (Kaz) 2.42
05. I Never Will Marry (Traditional) 3.08
06. Blue Bayou (Orbison/Melson) 3.55
07. Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Zevon) 3.44
08. Maybe I’m Right (Wachtel) 2.55
09. Tumbling Dice (Jagger/Richards) 3.06
10. Old Paint (Traditional) 2.59
11. It’s So Easy (live) (Holly/Petty) 3.16
12. Blue Bayou (live) (Orbison/Melson) 4.30
13. Poor Poor Pitiful Me (live) (Zevon) 4.22
14. Lago Azul (Blue Bayou) (Single A side) (Orbison/Melson/G.Ronstadt) 3.55
15. Lo Siento Mi Vida (Single B side) (L.Ronstadt/Edwards/G.Ronstadt) 3.55
More from Linda Ronstadt:
The official website: