Linda Ronstadt: Tribute to a Voice of a Generation


Linda Ronstadt had one of the most vibrant and diverse music careers of the 20th century. Her crystal clear voice and masterful song interpretations made her a superstar in many different genres. It has been said that Ronstadt was "blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation ... rarest of rarities—a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive ... It's an exceptional gift; one shared by few others”. It was just learned recently, that Ronstadt, who is 67, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease leaving her unable to ever sing again. Afternoon Mix host, Rosemary Welsch and Cindy Howes pay tribute to one of the finest voices music has ever known.

Rosemary discussed her experience when she first discovered the voice of Linda Ronstadt, “I think most people discovered it when she did “Different Drum” when she was still with the Stone Poneys, which was a song that came out in the late 1960s.  It wasn’t really until 1974 that I became super aware of her because that was a huge break out year for her.  After that, she basically ruled the airwaves.  I don’t care if you were listening to AM or FM radio in the 70s, it was ubiquitous.  Linda Ronstadt was everywhere,” explained Welsh.

Linda Ronstadt’s voice allowed her to cross over almost every genre.  Rosemary discussed Ronstadt’s unique ability to cross and combine genres with her voice, “She was able to leap genres, but not just that but she was able to pull them together.  At a time when country was seen as something totally different from rock, she started to pull those things together and I think that’s what her great ability is.  It was the voice, she could do anything with that voice.”

On top of being able to cross genres, Ronstadt’s voice opened to the doors to many great musical collaborations.  “When you look at her career and how many albums she’s been on, if you could get Linda Ronstadt on your album it was just that little extra something that could push your album to the forefront,” adds Rosemary.

When looking back at the illustrious of Linda Ronstadt, it is hard to find any modern artist that can compare.  Cindy and Rosemary were able to come up Taylor Swift because of her leap from country to pop music.  With all respect to Miss Swift she still has a way to go before she can be in the same conversation as Linda Ronstadt.

Another thing that Linda Ronstadt was able to accomplish with her musical career was giving notice to many great songwriters.  “She always had a great group of musicians around her.  Almost every member of the Eagles played on her albums.  You can’t go through the 70s without looking at all of these albums and they all interconnect and she’s sort of at the epicenter of all of that.”

Although she can no longer sing, Linda Ronstadt is releasing a memoir, “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir.”  The book is due out September 17. 


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