If you are a fan of old rock music, you must have heard Linda Ronstadt. She was the unforgettable queen of rock music back in her time. Linda is an American retired singer, who mastered various genres like rock, country, light opera, the Great American Songbook, and Latin.

Accoladed with several awards, she is one of the legends in the music industry. She even has a history of topping Billboard’s Top 100 and best album lists as well. She is 76 years old today.

Linda and Her Musical Memoir

Born on July 15, 1946, in Tucson, Texas, Linda was the third child of the Ronstadt family of four kids.

Her father, Gilbert Ronstadt was a successful machinery merchant. The Ronstadt family has a great history, and the family’s legacy is displayed at the library of the University of Arizona.

Both her parents descend from great contributors to history, businessmen, and inventors.

She grew up having a keen interest in music and had already set up a successful professional career by the mid-1960s. Linda started by joining Bobby Kimmel and Kenny Edwards and formed a folk-rock trio, the Stone Poneys. She remained the lead singer.

Linda Ronstadt Health

In 1969, she released her solo work, Hand Sown … Home Grown, which has been described as the first alternative country record by a female recording artist.

With the release of chart-topping albums such as Heart Like a WheelSimple Dreams, and Living in the USA, Ronstadt became the first female “arena class” rock star. She set records as one of the top-grossing concert artists of the decade. Referred to as the “First Lady of Rock” and the “Queen of Rock”, Ronstadt has voted the Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s.

Ronstadt remained one of the music industry’s best-selling acts throughout the 1980s, with multi-platinum-selling albums such as Mad LoveWhat’s NewCanciones de Mi Padre, and Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. She continued to tour, collaborate, and record celebrated albums, such as Winter Light and Hummin’ to Myself, until her retirement in 2011.

She created a musical legacy and set a benchmark with her distinguished career. Linda announced retirement in 2011, due to her deteriorating health.

Linda’s Health Complications

Linda started facing complications while singing after 2000. After years of struggling with her vocals, she was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. Only to discover later that it was a Parkinson’s-like disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy.

Linda ronstadt during her interview with Today

According to the Mayo Clinic, the uncommon condition, which is caused by the deterioration of brain cells that control thinking, movement, and coordination, mimics many of the same symptoms of Parkinson’s and dementia. And those symptoms worsen over time.

Opening up about her disease and its consequences, she shared “I can sing in my brain.” 

“It’s not quite the same,” she said of singing in her head. 

Especially as her mind doesn’t always let her pick the tune that she wants to hear. Upon this problem, Linda said, “Sometimes, I choose the song, and sometimes my brain chooses the song.” Further adding, “My brain chooses the worst music. It just blares away in my head, like really bad Christmas carols.”

Her health condition severely hampered her career and she could no longer sing. However, she does keep making appearances for several social programs.

Ronstadt and Her Legacy

With all her gilded and glamorous career, Linda sure has left a strong impression. This has been acknowledged by not only her fans but also by the music industry. This is why she has been honored with several prestigious awards.

Linda Ronstadt in recent years

She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, and an ALMA Award.

Several of her albums have been certified as gold, platinum, and multiplatinum in the US as well as internationally.

In 2011, she was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Recording Academy and also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy in 2016. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On July 28, 2014, she was honored with the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.

In 2019, she jointly received a star with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work as the group Trio. Linda also was among the five honorees who received the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.

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Conclusion

Linda Ronstadt, the First Lady of Rock, had to give up singing due to her incurable illness. She is 76 today and has long since retired.

However, her contribution to the music industry will forever be honored. She was a pioneering musician and will never lose respect in the hearts of music fans.

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