Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” the Everly Brothers “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid-70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush Life) and Mexican music that she heard growing up in Tucson, Arizona (Canciones De Mi Padre). That work proved as successful as her rock albums; she is the only artist to win a Grammy Award in the categories of pop, country, Mexican American and Tropical Latin. That diversity reflects her approach to singing: she was always looking for the best song, regardless of category.
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