Rock music loved the vocal prowess of Linda Ronstadt. It has been nearly 40-years since young men gazed at her pin-up poster hanging from their music entrenched rooms. The crooner, now age 67, was popular in the 70’s and has recently been nominated as an inductee into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She did not go unnoticed over the decades as she experienced the highs and lows of life after music. With 11 Grammy awards under her belt, she joins 15 other nominees that will be voted on in the coming months.
Ronstadt probably would not vote for herself. Rock music provided her paycheck for many years, but was not her first love. She would rather be known as a singer of diverse talent, an artist in many genres, not strictly rock and roll. She loved to sing and express herself through music, not just collect plaques and statues. Her versatility in music has crossed the spectrum of rock and roll, country and Motown. Her repertoire is endless with her pop songs, Broadway stints and even an aria in the opera La Boheme. Ronstadt’s ballads and love songs have also included selections from The Great American Songbook.
Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, her Mexican-American heritage soon gave way to her native music. Ronstadt has nearly done it all. Rock music did not lock her in as she branched out and sang her with her heart and soul, regardless of genre. Her unique vocal range has made her successful as she focused on the right song for her at the time. Memorable tunes such as You’re No Good and Blue Bayou were as comfortable as Silver Threads and Golden Needles.
Ronstadt has been honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a nominee for the upcoming year. Other nominees for 2014 include Kiss, Hall and Oates, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Nirvana, The Paul Butterfield Band, Chic, Yes, Deep Purple, Link Wray, The Zombies, N.W.A., The Meters, The Replacements and Peter Gabriel. Ronstadt has good company and all are eligible 25-years after their first single or album was released. Voting is currently going on with the win going to the musical sensation with the most votes. The induction ceremony will take place in New York in April 2014.
Regardless, she ends up being inducted with enough votes into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ronstadt will be fine. “What ever happens” will continue to be the quoted words in Ronstadt’s life path. She has had her share of rock music related experiences with drugs, touring and groupies. Her mission all along was to just be able to sing the songs she liked, and keep things simple. Her limited appearances in recent years have caused her savings to dwindle. Ronstadt can also add published author to her long list of accolades. She has a story to tell, and one that can put some money back in the bank. The book is titled Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, released this past September.
Never married, yet the mother of two adopted children, the so-called rock princess is coasting along with her new fate in life. Ronstadt was diagnosed recently with Parkinson’s disease which has affected her muscles, including her vocal cords. Sadly, she can no longer sing, even if she wanted to. She still remains an outspoken figure in politics with her liberal views. She has designed her own life with or without the fame, so another award is not really necessary. She is well deserving, but has enough memories and listening music to last the rest of her years.
By Roanne H. FitzGibbon