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15 Essential Linda Ronstadt Songs: Staff Picks

todayFebruary 2, 2023

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Linda Ronstadt’s illustrious voice is back in the spotlight, thanks to her 1970 song “Long, Long Time” being featured in the HBO series The Last of Us.

Ronstadt first rose to prominence during the folk-rock scene of the 1960s and later became a blazing country-folk musical force throughout the 1970s, putting her stamp on the musical landscape as a formidable vocal stylist and interpreter possessing a supple voice capable of enviable musical diversity. Over the course of more than two dozen albums, Ronstadt traversed genres including rock, folk, country, jazz, Mexican folk, the Great American Songbook and opera. Several of her songs reached the upper echelon of the Billboard’s Hot 100, and in 1975, she crowned the chart with her hit “You’re No Good.” In total, she placed 34 entries on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

She also notched hits on the Billboard Latin chart (“Frenesi,” “Perfidia”) and country charts (1975’s “When Will I Be Loved,” and the Dolly Parton/Emmylou Harris collaboration “To Know Him is to Love Him”).

Ronstadt has 11 Grammy wins to her credit, in a diverse spectrum of categories including best musical album for children, best country vocal performance, best Mexican-American album, best pop vocal performance, and the all-genre record of the year category. Further demonstrating her versatility, Ronstadt also earned a Primetime Emmy Award in 1989 for outstanding individual performance in a variety of music program, for Canciones de Mi Padre (Great Performances), and was nominated for a Tony Award for best performance by a leading actress in a musical, for her role as Mabel Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance.

Ronstadt earned a lifetime achievement award from the Latin Grammys in 2014, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 and was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2019.

Here, we look at 15 songs that highlight Ronstadt’s stylistic range.

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