Linda Ronstadt Opens Up About Parkinson’s

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To promote the release of her first live album – recorded nearly three decades ago – Linda Ronstadt will appear on this weekend’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning. In the rare television interview, the singer talks about how Parkinson’s robbed her of her singing voice. She was diagnosed in 2013.

Ronstadt released more than two dozen studio albums during a stellar career that has spanned more than five decades. Surprisingly, during all that time, the legendary singer never released a live album. That finally changed with Live in Hollywood, from a concert that Ronstadt recorded in 1980 for her acclaimed HBO television special. The album, announced on Dec. 14, was released February 1, 2019, from Rhino. Order is available here. (We’ve got several video clips and audio tracks below.)

In her interview with Tracy Smith, airing Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. ET, Ronstadt acknowledges: “I can’t even sing in the shower.” She’s optimistic there will eventually be a cure. “They’re learning so much more about it every day. I’m 72, we’re all going to die. People don’t always die of it because it’s so slow moving. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying.”

Watch the interview

Watch the performance of “Just One Look” from Live in Hollywood, one of nine previously unreleased live tracks

Recorded on April 24, 1980, at Television Center Studios in Hollywood, the concert captures Ronstadt at the peak of her reign as America’s most popular female rock singer. For Live in Hollywood, Ronstadt selected 12 of her favorite performances from the original concert.

She was joined that evening by an outstanding band that included guitarists Kenny Edwards and Danny Kortchmar, drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Bob Glaub, keyboardist Billy Payne (of Little Feat), pedal steel guitarist Dan Dugmore, and backing vocalist Wendy Waldman. Rounding out the band was Peter Asher – Ronstadt’s producer and the concert’s executive producer – who played percussion and sang background.

Live in Hollywood includes popular Ronstadt interpretations like “Blue Bayou,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “It’s So Easy.”

There’s also a previously unreleased six-minute jam of her #1 smash, “You’re No Good.”

Watch the performance of “You’re No Good”

The concert also showcased a trio of Top 10 hits from her then-current album – Mad Love – with performances of “I Can’t Let Go,” “How Do I Make You” and “Hurt So Bad.” After its release in February 1980, Mad Love would become Ronstadt’s seventh consecutive platinum-selling album.

Related: Ronstadt has cancelled several upcoming events

John Boylan – who produced Live in Hollywood – says the album almost didn’t happen because HBO, Ronstadt, and her label, Asylum Records, could not initially find the master tapes. It was a rink-side conversation with a label audio engineer at their sons’ hockey practice that would finally lead him to the missing tapes. In the album’s liner notes, he writes: “I have no way of calculating the odds of finding the lost tapes through a chance encounter at a hockey practice, but they must be astronomical – like winning the lottery. And in this case of remarkable serendipity, every Linda Ronstadt fan is a lottery winner.”

Watch another clip from the original HBO special

Live in Hollywood Track Listing

I Can’t Let Go*
It’s So Easy
Just One Look*
Blue Bayou
Faithless Love*
Hurt So Bad*
Poor Poor Pitiful Me
You’re No Good*
How Do I Make You*
Back in the U.S.A.*

*Previously unreleased

Best Classic Bands Staff

9 Comments so far

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  1. Randy
    #1 Randy 14 December, 2018, 13:55

    Linda Ronstadt is one of the great female voices in American rock/pop history. I was fortunate enough to see her perform live, and she was wonderful. I’ve always loved her studio albums, so this live concert footage will be a real treat.

    Reply this comment
  2. bryboman
    #2 bryboman 17 December, 2018, 14:36

    Why not Party Girl? Where is Lies? That was awesome from that show!! Arrgh! Once again, only the ‘hits’. NOT buying!

    Reply this comment
    • muse
      muse 18 December, 2018, 13:51

      Not to mention “Mad Love.” Don’t sit on the rest of this classic concert!
      Let’s push for a Deluxe or Bonus Edition with all 20 songs!

      Reply this comment
  3. Splash
    #3 Splash 19 December, 2018, 13:22

    Delighted to hear quality Live Ronstadt. Best female pipes in concert – stunning actually. There are a whole bunch of earlier stuff we would love – but this will do – until a deeper dive into her eclectic repertoire come along. Wrap it – I’ll take it.

    Reply this comment
  4. Steve B
    #4 Steve B 21 December, 2018, 03:02

    Everything this incomparable talent did was a “cover”. And without exception her “cover” became the quintisential version of the piece. Stay as healthy as God lets you Linda. One of kind.

    Reply this comment
  5. Bob Sled
    #5 Bob Sled 1 February, 2019, 12:22

    I saw this when it originally aired; No flashy stage show, just a top-notch band playing to perfection behind one of the most remarkably versatile voices of the era.

    Reply this comment
  6. Guy Smiley
    #6 Guy Smiley 1 February, 2019, 22:39

    Yeah… there were mor than 12 songs in the original broadcast. This album is butchered. No sale.

    Release the full performance and then maybe I’ll be interested.

    Reply this comment
  7. BG
    #7 BG 2 February, 2019, 00:26

    Listening to this now on Spotify- I’ve always loved the two live cuts on the “FM” movie soundtrack, which are brilliant:
    “And I’d like to thank Jeff Dugan, and Q Sky Radio, for broadcasting this concert live.”

    Reply this comment
  8. Cisley
    #8 Cisley 3 February, 2019, 21:20

    Does anyone know if the entire concert will be available on DVD? I would love to have that. She is truly amazing.

    Reply this comment

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