August 24th, 2013

Linda Ronstadt sings no more

The cause? Parkinson’s, which can be a cruel and vicious (and protean) disease.

In my mind, Ronstadt is still a slim young thing with a phenomenal voice. Of course, she’s been neither slim nor young for quite some time. And now her singing voice has been stilled as well.

Let’s remember when:

18 Responses to “Linda Ronstadt sings no more”

  1. SwiperTheFox Says:

    One can thank goodness that Linda Ronstadt had a long, storied career that produced many great songs before this horrible illness struck her.

    In any rate, God bless her.

  2. Ray Says:

    That’s a shame. I remember Linda and the Stone Poneys. I seem to recall she was also the girlfriend of the govenor of California a long time ago.

  3. RickZ Says:

    A few years ago, Ronstadt was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That certainly does not help her weight problem but in fact contributes to it.

  4. LAG Says:

    Blue Bayou shows her power. But I love listening to her Mexican songs and her work with Nelson Riddle. Truly a performer with great skill, range, and talent.

    Great examples of the former:

  5. James Says:

    I remember too! It is sad.

  6. mezzrow Says:

    Hate to hear this. Linda had a singularly great set of pipes and the intelligence and musicianship to make it all work with many different groups in an amazing variety of styles.

    That sound will live forever in my own mind. Got to go listen to some right now.

  7. Hale Adams Says:

    Meh. I heard “Blue Bayou” and “When Will I Be Loved” so many times in my high school years that if I never hear them again, it will be too soon.

    Still, it’s a damned shame that it has come to this for her. As SwiperTheFox said, may God bless her.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    Her album with Nelson Riddle was special.

  9. M J R Says:

    “Blue Bayou” was a Roy Orbison – Joe Melson composition.

    Roy was very gratified that Linda Ronstadt took “Blue Bayou” into the top 5, as he felt that contributed to validating him as a songwriter as well as a singer [most of Roy’s own hits were written or co-written by him, but he was very pleased when someone of Linda’s stature wanted to record his composition].

    Ray (3:33 pm), I too remember well Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys [“Different Drum”]. She had a terrific voice.

  10. Don Carlos Says:

    She seems to have fairly rapidly progressing Parkinson’s and thus is likely not responding to the dopaminergic meds.
    There are lots of obesity causes other than hypothyroid, and the right Synthroid dose can and does fix hypo.

  11. Roy Says:

    My favorite Linda Ronstadt song is “Long, Long Time”. In fact, that sone is one of my all time favorites.

  12. Gringo Says:

    I am not going to choose a favorite among her English language songs. My favorite of her Canciones de Mi Padre, an album of Mexican songs which others have already referred to, is Rogaciano El Huapanguero.I include a translation of the lyrics.

    La huasteca* is in mourning
    Its huapanguero has died
    You can no longer hear that falsetto
    Which is the soul of the troubadour.

    Rogaciano he was called
    Rogaciano the huapanguero*
    And they were sones of the sierra
    The songs of the troubadours.

    Azucena and Cecilia
    Are crying, crying inconsolably
    Malagueña Salerosa*
    Their bard has gone.

    The cane is ready
    Today begins the milling
    The sugar mill is in mourning
    And sighs with each turn.

    In the green coffee plantations
    Far beyond that pasture
    There are those who say that in the
    The huapanguero appears.

    Azucena and Cecilia
    Are crying, crying inconsolably
    Malagueña Salerosa*
    Their bard has left.

    *huasteca: a region
    huapanguero: a singer of huapangos

    sones- sounds, songs..

    As with all great singers, such as Amalia Rogrigues, you do not need to know the lyrics to emotionally connect with the song, but it helps. IIRC, Linda Ronstadt didn’t know Spanish, but sang the lyrics nonetheless- in a very acceptable Spanish accent.

  13. Gary Says:

    Mr. Frank:
    Thanks for the link. Enjoyed the song and added it to my list.

    Rod Stewart and others jumped on the bandwagon of reinterpreting old pop “standards”, but Ronstadt was way ahead of them. My recollection is she was the first major star to do this. Her first album with Nelson Riddle came out in 1983 (“What’s New”, which included your track).

    If you haven’t heard Ronstadt’s version of “Crazy”, take a listen:

    (Blasphemy alert!)
    I like it a bit more than Patsy Cline’s definitive recording.

  14. Gringo Says:

    Linda Ronstadt has some interesting members in her family tree, including Roque Dalton. Roque Dalton was born in El Salvador, the illegitimate son of Winnall Dalton, Jr., who was a first cousin of Gilbert Ronstadt, Linda’s father. That would make Linda Ronstadt and Roque Dalton first cousins once removed.

    Roque Dalton was both a guerrilla leader and acclaimed poet. He was killed in 1975 at the order of a revolutionary tribunal, as a suspected CIA informant. Joaquin Villalobos, who later led the FMLS. was one of the responsible parties. Years later, the charges appear to have been bogus. Interesting factoid: Roque Dalton has appeared on postage stamps in El Salvador.

  15. Julia NYC Says:

    “You’re No Good” kills me everytime I hear it. What a great rock singer. No one comes close.

  16. Tina K Says:

    Just a terrible tragedy. As a singer myself I cannot even comprehend such a terrible thing to have happened to someone that had an amazing God given ability. My prayers are with you dear Linda. You are loved. 

  17. Brooks Says:

    It’s sad that she has to suffer with Parkinson’s, and I pity her suffering. That said, I was less enamored of her singing and especially how she managed her career. I know some fine people who knew and worked with Linda Ronstadt earlier in her career, and they all had disturbing stories that explained their disillusionment with her character and person. She was also well known for expressing disdain for much of her audience, rather than gratitude, and had much to do with the cynical air of disrepute lingering over that Seventies LA scene. Not at all an admirable character, unfortunately, though many have fond memories of her music.

  18. Gary Says:

    Re Brooks:

    Well now, there’s a bracing little jolt of commentary. And just when I was getting all mushy with pride over the remarkable fact that Neo’s post and every single comment was positive and/or sympathetic towards Ronstadt–in spite of her liberal/left politics.

    I have no way of verifying Brooks’ post, but it certainly rings true, comports with the behavior of many other pop stars, and utterly lacks the vitriol characteristic of a personal attack. While Ronstadt’s situation is poignant, it does not exempt her from criticism–like that delivered above in such a restrained, matter-of-fact and pitying manner.

    Nevertheless, I still admire the big-heartedness of the people whose comments above overlooked Ronstadt’s politics, expressing only esteem and compassion. I exclude myself from this group because, while I vaguely recalled some leftist stuff, I simply felt Ronstadt’s music was more interesting to write about. Also, I have a head-in-the-sand policy towards many entertainers: the less known, the better. I would advise such a policy for those who wish to retain pleasant memories of Ronstadt, untainted by distasteful politics.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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