Happy Birthday to Linda Ronstadt, who turns 67 today (July 15th)!!! Despite being born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Ronstadt came to embody the '70s California soft-rock sound, alongside such acts as the Eagles and Jackson Browne. Ronstadt will publish her autobiography, called Simple Dreams, on September 17th via Simon And Schuster. The book will chronicle her early years in Tucson, Arizona, her '70s super-stardom, her 1980's career on Broadway, recording standards -- and eventually Mexican folk music, all leading up to her 2009 retirement from the business.
Ronstadt, who is of Mexican and German heritage, first broke on the scene in 1967 with her group the Stone Poneys, who scored a Top 20 hit with "Different Drum," which was written by the Monkees' Mike Nesmith. Ronstadt went solo soon afterwards, and her initial solo back up band included Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner, who went on to become the Eagles.
Although Ronstadt did write some of her own music, all of her biggest hits were covers. Among her most famous hits were her versions of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," Martha Reeves & The Vandellas' "Heat Wave," Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "The Tracks Of My Tears," Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou," Chuck Berry's "Back In The U.S.A.," Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy," and the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice." In the late 80's and early' 90s she scored hits with duets, with Aaron Neville on "I Don't Know Much," and with James Ingram on "Somewhere Out There."
In later years Ronstadt branched out into theatre, appearing on Broadway in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance, recording a trio of standards albums with legendary arranger Nelson Riddle, doing two country albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, and recording a trio of albums of traditional Mexican music and an album of lullabies.
Throughout the years, Ronstadt has been linked romantically to many high-profiled suitors, including then-California Governor Jerry Brown; musicians such as Gram Parsons and the Eagles' Don Henley; actors Bill Murray, Albert Brooks, and Jim Carrey; and director George Lucas.
As a single mother, Ronstadt has adopted two children, Carlos and Mary.
Ronstadt says that she has mixed emotions on her career, from the material she's chosen to release, to even how much performing she does: "My music has always been eighty percent private music and twenty percent what I did for the public, but the public part of it just became so dominant, and I. . . it didn't need to be that way. And I, y'know, I've done it, I've been on the road. I've had an unusually long career. Most people's careers (laughing), don't last as long as mine and nobody would want to, unless you're mentally imbalanced. Nobody would want to keep going out on the road. It's a horrible. . . it's not a nice existence. There's nothing natural about it."
Ronstadt's last album was her 2006 collaboration Adieu False Heart with Ann Savoy.
In May 2009 Ronstadt -- along with Smokey Robinson and merengue pioneer Juan Luis Guerra -- was awarded an honorary degree at Boston's Berklee School of Music's graduation.