Today we celebrate the 76th birthday of Linda Ronstadt, a woman whose indelible mark on music is legendary. From the very beginning, Linda Ronstadt made sure she was in charge of her own career, and she did a hell of a job with it. She defied those who wanted to pigeon-hole her sound to sing just about any damned thing she wanted.
Here’s your musical landscape for today:
11:00 a.m. Album of The Week: Hasten Down The Wind by Linda Ronstadt
This was a very tough selection. Like asking me to pick one singular favorite Linda Ronstadt song. But in the end, it made its case. Released in 1976, this was Ronstadt’s seventh studio album during a time when she was the undisputed Queen of Rock. (Some of us believe she still is, frankly.) Although the Laurel Canyon influence is all over this album, Linda Ronstadt switched gears on this one a bit and began to sing the songs of some new songwriters, like Karla Bonoff and Warren Zevon, who would soon be on the map. Two songs were also co-authored by Ronstadt, Try Me Again and Lo Siento Mi Vida, the latter being her first move into the Spanish sound.
The album became her third consecutive million-selling album, the first such feat by a female singer. Hasten Down The Wind earned Ronstadt a Grammy for the Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, in 1977, her second of 13 career Grammys. It was also the second of four country #1 albums for her.
2:00 p.m. Linda Ronstadt Live at The Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA, May 14, 1995
I had the absolute pleasure of being at this show in 1995. I remember it well. It was a real treat to have two brilliant women on stage that night as the late, great Valerie Carter was the opening act and joined Ronstadt on stage for a couple of beautiful songs. The best thing about Linda Ronstadt is that she was never threatened by sharing the stage with others, male or female, and that she felt like she was better as part of a bigger whole…in spite of her amazing solo career. And this brings us to our final programming for the day.
7:00 p.m. Linda Ronstadt & Friends: Duets and More
We close out the day with a great playlist of songs where Ronstadt shares the limelight. She’s either a back-up singer or a duet singer on these songs, sharing the duties with the likes of Glenn Frey, Valerie Carter, J.D. Souther, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigle Sisters, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Nicolette Larson, James Taylor, Hoyt Axton and others. A fitting ending to our birthday celebration.
Before, in between and after, there’ll be all that wide Open Stream. Join us for Linda’s 76th birthday bash today. We’re sure you won’t regret it.