Linda Marie Ronstadt was born July 15, 1946, in Tucson, Arizona and learned to play guitar like her father. She enrolled in the University of Arizona, but soon left to move to Los Angeles, where she joined folk musician Bob Kimmel and guitarist Kenny Edwards to form the Stone Poneys. The group achieved modest success, before she embarked on a solo career in 1968.
Ronstadt was influential during a career that spanned more than four decades and is credited with helping to establish what is now known as country rock. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1977. Along with original songs, she often recorded covers in a variety of genres, including country, rock, folk, jazz, and even a number of Spanish language songs. Her self-titled album (her third solo album) featured session musicians that would eventually form the Eagles.
In the early ‘80s, Ronstadt shifted focus from music to acting, when she was cast in the Broadway version of “Pirates of Penzance.” She later starred in the film version as well. In 1986, she recorded “Somewhere Out There,” the theme for Don Bluth’s animated feature, “An American Tail.” This was followed soon after in 1987 with a return to country music and the recording of Trio, an album that featured Ronstadt, along with Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris. Trio II was recorded in 1999.
Ronstadt has won several awards during the course of her career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the ALMA award for Special Achievement, the National Medal of Arts, and Kennedy Center Honors.
Her last concert was in 2009. In 2013, Ronstadt disclosed that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which caused her to lose her ability to sing and perform. That same year she released her autobiography and was elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She never married, though she did date several celebrities, including actor Jim Carrey and producer George Lucas (Star Wars).
Here at Life 103.1, we’re pleased to include in our “Timeless Favorites” playlist a number of her most popular hits, songs that are indeed timeless in their appeal.
(allmusic.com, britannica.com, lindaronstadt.com, biography.com)