Linda Ronstadt 2016 Tribute Concert Features Henley, Browne

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Don Henley acknowledging the cheers following his performance of “Desperado” at the Dec. 11, 2016, Linda Ronstadt tribute concert

Friends and fans of one of the great singers of all time gathered at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on December 11, 2016, for a benefit concert, A Tribute to the Music of Linda Ronstadt. The event attracted many artists closely associated with then-70-year-old singer whose wondrous voice has been stilled by Parkinson’s Disease.

Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Aaron Neville, J.D. Souther, David Lindley, Maria Muldaur, Heartbreaker Benmont Tench and more were on hand for the concert; the proceeds benefitted the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research which raises awareness about the disease and funds research into finding a cure. Others who took part were Grace Potter, Dawes, Aoife O’Donovan, Brandy Clark, Gaby Moreno and Sean Watkins & Sara Watkins.

In introducing “Desperado,” Henley acknowledged the debt he owed Ronstadt: “The song that I’m about to do for you didn’t get much love or attention when it was released on our second album back in April of 1973. In fact, the executives at the record label freaked out. ‘Oh God, they’ve made a fucking cowboy hymn.’ (laughs) And then Linda Ronstadt recorded the song and put it on her album in September of 1973 and everything was different after that. This is the first song I ever wrote with an extraordinary guy named Glenn Frey.”

Watch Henley’s speech (regrettably, copyrights preclude us from being able to share the actual performance)

Browne, accompanied by the female duo Lucius (Jess Wolf and Holly Laessig) performed the Lowell George composition “Willin'” which Ronstadt recorded on what many consider her best album, Heart Like a Wheel.

Neville and Ronstadt enjoyed a #2 pop hit in 1989 with their duet “Don’t Know Much,” which at the time marked a huge comeback for both. No one would have known that the song and their follow-up duet, “All My Life,” would be her final chart hits.

Before singing “Heart Like a Wheel,” Muldaur said: “I’ve known Linda for over 50 years. We were both young, hippy chicks singers back in the day.”

And here’s Grace Potter and the Watkins Family Hour performing Ronstadt’s first hit, “Different Drum,” when she was starting out as a member of the Stone Poneys.

Thanks to Cal Vid for the videos.

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Brad57vett
    #1 Brad57vett 14 December, 2016, 01:55

    What a great assembly of musicians. It would have been perfect and poignant had the author of Different Drum been on hand; always great when Michael Nesmith gets his due acknowledgement.

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  2. Clayton
    #2 Clayton 14 December, 2016, 10:35

    Ronstadt, an extraordinary vocalist, great bands, great tunes. Best pipes live.

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    • JCB
      JCB 13 December, 2021, 10:12

      The greatest singer of her generation, period. She could sing anything. And she surrounded herself with legends in her bands. Their will never be another Linda.

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