(NEW YORK) — Happy birthday to Linda Ronstadt, who turns 70 today. The powerful and versatile singer was one of the most popular female rock artists of the 1970s, then found success in other musical genres during the following decade.
As lead singer of the folk-rock group The Stone Poneys, Ronstadt scored her first hit in 1967 with a cover of Monkees member Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum.” Linda went solo in 1969 and began focusing on a more pop-rock and country-rock sound.
Ronstadt’s career picked up steam with the 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel, which topped the Billboard 200 and yielded a #1 and #2 singles, respectively, with covers of “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.” A series of platinum-selling albums followed that featured both pop and country hits. Among her big pop singles during the mid-to-late ’70s were covers of “Heat Wave,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Blue Bayou,” “It’s So Easy,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” and “Ooh Baby Baby.”
In 1980, Ronstadt branched out into Broadway when she starred in a popular revival of The Pirates of Penzance. Later in the ’80s, she recorded three hit albums of jazz standards with famed orchestra leader Nelson Riddle. In 1987, Linda teamed up with country music superstars Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris for the hit country album Trio. That same year, she celebrated her Mexican heritage with Canciones de Mi Padre, a Grammy-winning collection of traditional mariachi tunes.
In 1989, Ronstadt returned to the pop charts with “Don’t Know Much,” a duet with Aaron Neville that was a #2 hit. Linda continued to release albums into the 2000s, but retired from music in 2011, revealing two years later that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and no longer was able to sing. In 2014, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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