One of my friends, remembering her popularity in the late 1970s, both musically and visually – posters of her image were on more few dorm room walls – wrote: “Now that we know Linda Ronstadt is living with Parkinson’s, can we please finally put her in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame?”
Not sure about whether induction there really matters; it certainly does not diminish her remarkable talent over decades. Still, I support the notion of her getting into the Hall, and if it takes a sympathy vote because she no longer can sing to achieve it, so be it. But I think she has enough bona fides to get there without pity.
She had tremendous commercial success in the folk-rock milieu in the 1970s, yet ventured off to do the Pirates of Penzance; two albums of music of her Mexican father, in Spanish; three albums of standards arranged by Nelson Riddle; some great duets with Aaron Neville and Emmylou Harris, among others; the Trio albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou, and much more.
Linda was as eclectic as musical shapeshifters like David Bowie and Neil Young, but because she didn’t write her own stuff, she’s been dismissed. You’ll find her on albums as varied as Randy Newman’s Faust and Philip Glass’s Songs of Liquid Days; from the latter, here is Forgetting, also featuring the Roches and the Kronos String Quartet. She’s one of the great backup vocalists, with Neil Young on Heart of Gold, and Paul Simon on Under African Skies, e.g.
It’s also true that I like Linda Ronstadt – not personally – based on what I’ve heard about her. I hear she’s a big donator to repertory theater in Tucson, for instance. Her birthday is the same as my wife’s (Linda’s a bit older, though).
She inspired a buycott by me. A buycott, as described by Arthur, is “to go out of my way to support businesses that support the issues I care about instead of boycotting the ones that oppose those issues.” In 2004, she was escorted from a Las Vegas casino after she had dedicated a song to the filmmaker Michael Moore. Her ejection and the attitude of the audience annoyed me so much that I soon ordered from Amazon The Linda Ronstadt Box Set, which is great, especially discs three, “Collaborations, ” and four, “Rarities.” Though the collection ignores her hits such as Heat Wave, Tracks of My Tears, That’ll Be the Day, It’s So Easy, and most of the Hasten Down the Wind album, it was a very satisfying purchase.