Happy Birthday, Linda Ronstadt!
Country music legend Linda Ronstadt turns 75 today. She was born on July 15th, 1946 in Tuscon, Arizona. And it didn’t take long for her to catch the music bug. By the mid-60s, Rondstadt was fronting the folk-rock trio called the Stone Poneys. Shortly after that, Ronstadt went solo and that’s when her career really took off. In 1969, she released the album, Hand Sown…Home Grown. Some have described the album as the first alternative country record by a female recording artist.
But just one first wasn’t enough for Linda Ronstadt. She didn’t stop at first female alternative country artist. No, she also took the rock world by storm. With albums including Heart Like a Wheel, Simple Dreams, and Living in the USA, Ronstadt became the first female “arena class” rock star. She was often referred to as “First Lady of Rock” and “Queen of Rock” and set records as one of the top-grossing concert artists of the decade. She was even voted Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s. Her image became just as iconic as her music and she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine six times. In conclusion, Linda Ronstadt is a pioneering musical badass.
But where did it all start? When did Linda Ronstadt fall in love with music?
Linda Ronstadt Learned To Love Music From Her Grandfather
Ronstadt was pretty young when she was first introduced to music. In fact, it was her grandfather who brought music into her life at an early age. Her grandfather was a business owner in Arizona who was born in Mexico. During an interview in 2019, Ronstadt talked about her grandfather’s musical influence.
“He was the one in Tucson who taught everybody how to play their instruments and assembled a band and wrote the arrangements and wrote a lot of compositions for the band,” said Ronstadt. “And he was like the music man except he really knew how to play music and how to read and he was an autodidact. He had quite a rich education.”
She added that her grandfather didn’t just play one type of music. He offered music magic that could fit anyone’s needs.
“Oh, yeah. You know, if you wanted to serenade your sweetheart, you’d get my grandfather’s band to go and serenade her at 2 in the morning. And if you had to have a military parade, well, my grandfather’s band was the one you get, you know,” said Ronstadt. “And if you had a wedding or a funeral, well, (laughter) they’d show up for that.
We’re starting to see why creating her own style of music was so easy for Linda Ronstadt, it’s all she ever knew!
“I mean, in those days, you had to make your own music. You couldn’t get it off the radio. And you couldn’t get it from YouTube. You couldn’t download it,” she said. “You had to make it yourself, and that’s what he did.”
And that’s certainly what she did over the course of her half a century-long career. We’re grateful for her influence on music and we wish her the happiest of 75th birthdays!