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Linda Ronstadt

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Linda Ronstadt
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Over her four-decade-long career, Linda Ronstadt has stood as one of American popular music’s preeminent voices – her diverse discography spanning folk, country, rock, jazz, pop standards, and mariachi. The most successful female singer of her era, the winner of 10 Grammy Awards (plus 17 additional nominations), the iconic singer has had a remarkable 38 singles reach Billboard’s “Hot 100,” including the #1 hit, “You’re No Good.” The Arizona-born Ronstadt first scored with 1967’s “Different Drum,” recorded in her role as lead singer with the folk-rock trio, The Stone Poneys. A series of solo albums, considered pivotal works in the evolution of country rock, did not achieve widespread popular success before her long relationship with Asylum began with 1973’s Don’t Cry Now.
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The following year saw Ronstadt’s multi-platinum breakthrough, Heart Like A Wheel, which she quickly followed up with two more platinum-certified albums, making her the first-ever female artist to release three consecutive million-sellers. The second, 1976’s Hasten Down The Wind, also earned Ronstadt a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female,” a category in which she has been nominated a remarkable seven times. Later that same year, Asylum released Linda Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits, which would eventually become the singer’s biggest seller, earning seven-times platinum certification in the U.S., with more than 20 million sold worldwide. 1977’s Simple Dreams was a three-times platinum-certified country/pop/rock crossover success, spending five consecutive weeks atop the Billboard album chart. What’s more, with “It’s So Easy” and the platinum-certified “Blue Bayou,” Ronstadt became the first-ever female artist – and first artist overall since The Beatles – to have two top 5 singles on Billboard’s “Hot 100” simultaneously. The double platinum Living In The USA topped the album chart one year later, followed in 1980 by Ronstadt’s seventh consecutive million-seller, the New Wave-inspired Mad Love. Since signing with Asylum a decade earlier, Linda Ronstadt had earned seven consecutive million-selling albums, conquered the charts, and effortlessly crossed the country/rock/pop border. So in 1983, she took a decided left turn, choosing to record a selection of standards by Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, and other icons of the Great American Songbook, with full orchestral arrangements by the legendary Nelson Riddle. What’s New proved a groundbreaking sensation, catching Elektra by happy surprise. The album spent 81 weeks on the Billboard album chart, with sales now exceeding 3 million
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Two platinum-certified sequels followed – including 1984’s Lush Life – before the always-adventurous singer recreated herself once more in 1987 with Canciones de mi Padre, a landmark collection of the traditional mariachi music of Ronstadt’s Mexican family heritage. As with her jazz trilogy, the double platinum-certified, Grammy Award-winning album turned out to be a landmark popular success, the biggest selling non-English language album in American record history. Ronstadt would follow it up with 1990’s Mas Canciones, but first she decided a collaboration with soul singer Aaron Neville was in order. The resulting Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind – featuring four duets with Neville – was yet another blockbuster, selling 3 million copies in the U.S. alone and bringing Ronstadt and Neville not one but two “Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo or Group” Grammys. After forays into Afro-Cuban jazz, classic ‘60s pop, and children’s music, the final Elektra/Asylum release of Ronstadt’s quarter-century history with the label came in 1998 with We Ran, a return to rock featuring songs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and John Hiatt. Having more than sealed her place among the pantheon of great interpretive singers, Linda Ronstadt continues to record and perform, ever-changing and always magnificent.
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