Linda Ronstadt

One of the most celebrated singers of her time, Linda Ronstadt looks back on her 40-year career in her memoir, “Simple Dreams.” Ronstadt joins us to discuss her career, which brought her 12 Grammy awards and an Emmy, her political activism and her recent battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Interview Highlights

Linda Ronstadt, singer, performer and author of "Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir"

  • Ehkzu

    I met Linda Ronstadt when she moved into the shotgun duplex in Santa Monica–within earshot of the beach–where I was living when I was a senior at UCLA, back in the 60’s. She had just arrived from Arizona with her band. We once went to see Maria Muldaur perform. I was impressed by what a genuine person she seemed to be, grounded, with a sense of humor, and intellectually curious as well. Of course she was also so charismatic and talented that I suspect many males couldn’t form complete sentences in her presence. But that hotness was wrapped around a lively mind–as shown by her musical explorations. I particularly enjoyed her renditions of traditional Mexican music.

    I never thought she’d join the 27 club, and I’m glad she’s still alive and kicking, Parkinson’s notwithstanding. Someone once asked the boulevardier Maurice Chevalier what it was like to be so old and creaky on his 80th birthday, having once been such a dashing man about town. He thought for a moment and replied “Well, considering the alternative, it’s not so bad.”

    Best wishes to Ms. Ronstadt. I’m sure those who are fortunate enough to be her friends now are glad that she’s in their lives–not because of who she was, but because of who she obviously still is.

  • Jim

    Thanks for all the joy your music brought. Great singer, great person.

  • DoWhatYouLove

    It’s wonderful listening to Ms. Ronstadt this morning. There’s a happiness and joy in her voice that makes me happy to hear her speak.

    I’ll look for her new book… I hope there’s an audio book version narrated by her.

    Thank you for sharing your stories this morning.

    Brian Giorgi

  • Ehkzu

    Two musical traditions I never heard Ms. Ronstadt sing or discuss are Portuguese Fado and Bulgarian women’s (largely acapella) choral music. Both blend in Western European music with a very different tradition–West African in the case of Fado, Turkish modal music in the case of Bulgarian. With these and other musics, I wonder whether Ms. Ronstadt has ever looked past America’s more familiar musical roots.

    EDIT ADD: Glad to hear she’s looked into Bulgarian. Now what about Fado–as with the renditions of Mariza and Dulce Pontes?

  • Skip Conrad

    The arguments Linda is stating about immigration reform seems to indicate that these Mexican people would be much better off staying home, and living in the culture that they know. In the US, these illegal immigrants are exposed to organized crime, expensive taxes, prey to exploitation, etc. The answer is to enforce our immigration laws. Why can’t you see that, Linda?

    • Skip Conrad

      If the issue is really NAFTA, Linda, why then aren’t you lobbying for the repeal of NAFTA?

    • Skip Conrad

      And if, as you suggest, people start migrating illegally from the US to Mexico, the Mexican authorities are not going to put up with it. That’s a crazy idea, Linda.

    • jurgispilis

      Under NAFTA, any Mexican can get a temporary border crossing card to enter the US, which makes the “family separation” argument totally bogus.

    • Kurt thialfad

      It’s like a cute puppy. How can you not want these beautiful, friendly, wholesome, organic, industrious, indigenous people to cross illegally into your country, and sell you tacos and dig ditches until, of course, you get nailed by an unlicensed driver who flees the accident scene, or you lose your job to a foreign worker, or your local hospital closes down, or the drop out rate at the local high school goes through the roof. Granted they do have beautiful music and song, but so do we.

  • Fyza Parviz

    I grew up in Peshawar Pakistan and my parents were huge fans of yours and I loved the video of one love get closer. I had my mom sew me a red polka dot dress like you wore in the video and I started kindergarten wearing that dress. Just wanted to share my memory 🙂

  • erin giordano

    there is a problem with the live stream, its repeating the same clip over and over! I hope we get to hear the interview in its entirety. Loved hearing Linda’s comments about the McGarrigle sisters.

  • Thais da Rosa

    Hi, Linda! Have so enjoyed all these interviews you given lately… always so straight forward and honest. Miguel, Gabi and I send you our love. Saudos a los ninos. Ten cuidado.

  • lalameda

    I saw Linda in The Pirates of Penzance at the Austin Lyric Opera several years ago.

  • Betty McNiel

    Linda is bringing back many memories for me today, from my years in Tucson in the late 70s, early 80’s: the jet sounds and train whistles, my lifelong love for horses and desert riding. I worked at the Mountain Oyster Club, a stone’s throw from Ronstadts’ Hardware, and her father was by far the nicest member of that club. As I recall, he loved going to the Wildcats’ football games, and would get an entire pecan pie from the club to bring to each game. Thanks, Linda, for bringing us so much great music over the years, and I hope you will be on horseback once more before long.

  • ccaufield

    I have loved Linda Ronstadt’s music from the time I first heard “Different Drum”. Her music comes from the heart, and when I hear it I can’t help but want to sing along. When I was younger, occasionally, my friends and I would imagine what we could be if we were able to do anything. My response always, “I’d be Linda Ronstadt”.

  • Ingrid

    Canciones de Mi Padre was a huge gift to my large Mexican American family. Some of us grew up in Mexico, some of us have never been there, but that album was a celebration of our culture for all of us. It played at all our gatherings and brought us together. And thanks to Frenesi, I learned Perfidia which made my Tios so happy.. Thank you.

  • Lee

    Linda, I was so proud of you when you spoke out against the Bush and the Iraq war. It was a shame you were told to leave your performance in Las Vegas. Thank you for many happier gym days in my advanced age, listening to your albums makes it bearable.

  • Alexandra Jenkins

    I’m thrilled to hear Ms. Ronstadt today. I grew up with her music during the late 70’s. My Dad was a huge fan, and he raised me solo. At the ages of 5-6-7, the songs of Simple Dreams and her then “Greatest Hits” provided support for my every childhood mood. I remember listening to Poor poor Pitiful Me and Blue Bayou as I played with my Barbie dolls! Thank you so much, Ms. Ronstadt, for being a powerful female presence in my young life!

  • Jan Lavelle

    I was diagnosed with PD at age 45 and I’m now 49 and listening to you speak about living with PD is inspiring. People tell me as well that I have an incredibly positive attitude. I believe that is what is slowing the disease for me. I am one of the owners of Harmonia, formally the Record Plant recording studio, where I know you’ve spent some time. I would enjoy sharing my experiences with you and my new business venture. It would be amazing to work with you to support people living with PD. Would you please contact me at, Thanks for your honesty about living with Parkinson’s.

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