Linda Ronstadt Rocks Warren Zevon

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Ronstadt Touring Band 1977

Ronstadt’s 1977 touring band: (L to R): Dan Dugmore, Andrew Gold, Waddy Wachtel, Ronstadt, Kenny Edwards, Rick Marotta, via

There was a real dearth of female classic rockers in the Seventies. The Wilson sisters for sure. Pat Benatar and Chrissie Hynde just make it since their debut albums arrived in 1979. Patti Smith? You bet. Joan Jett with the Runaways and Debbie Harry of Blondie? Sure. Janis passed away in 1970. Stevie Nicks and Grace Slick? Absolutely. Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Carole King. Great singers but not rockers.

And then there was Linda Ronstadt.

While her output ranged from a variety of musical genres – heck, she had four #1 Country Albums – when she chose to belt out a rock song, she was truly in a class by herself. At various times her band featured Waddy Wachtel, Andrew Gold, the Eagles, Leland Sklar, and Russ Kunkel, among others. And we’ll leave out the part about how damn sexy she was. (Oops…)

Her first hit was with the Stone Poneys with their 1967 hit “Different Drum,” which reached #13. (If you knew it was written by a pre-Monkees Michael Nesmith, raise your hand.) Her first solo album was released in 1969 but it wasn’t until 1973’s Don’t Cry Now (with such covers as “Desperado” and “Sail Away”) that she began to earn chart success. A year later, she delivered Heart Like a Wheel with two back-to-back smash singles: the #1 “You’re No Good” and #2 “When Will I Be Loved.” She was on her way.

Related: Read our rare interviews with Ronstadt, Part 1 about her career, and Part 2 about the SoCal singer-songwriter boom

Singles like “Heat Wave,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “That’ll Be the Day” followed. 1977’s Simple Dreams yielded three more hits including the Top 5 singles “Blue Bayou” and “It’s So Easy” plus a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.”

Here’s our Classic Video of her performing the latter at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta in 1977…

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  1. Ronstadt matters
    #1 Ronstadt matters 6 February, 2018, 22:10

    Queen of Rock. Rolling Stone revisionists came close to erasing and marginalizing her Rock ‘n Roll legacy. Woefully underrated by the rock critics but respected in her many other genres. Sold over 100 million records, worth about $120M. Still in the American Top Ten female solo bestselling artists.

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