Top 10 Linda Ronstadt Album Covers

Linda Ronstadt Album Covers

Feature Photo: Circacies, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list presents some of our favorite Linda Ronstadt album covers released throughout the legendary singer’s career. Hands down, Linda Ronstadt is one of our favorite rock and roll performers of all time. Linda Ronstadt was born on July 15, 1946, one year after the end of World War II. She hails from the city of Tucson Arizona. Her songs, her performances, her albums, all crossed many genres in the ’70s making her one of the most successful female singers of the decade.

Not many singers can be compared to Linda Ronstadt. Her voice formed a major part of the soundtrack of the lives of music fans who grew up in the 1970s. Her gorgeous wholesome looks would grace many of her own album covers. It would have been silly not to put her face on her record album covers. But of course, they were all done with the most artistic integrity one can possibly initiate. They would become iconic in many ways as anyone who grew up in the 1970s will always remember walking into a record store and seeing her smiling face and her rock and roll poses in the record racks and record store wall posters. It was tough only choosing ten album covers because she released so many albums. Nonetheless, we had a great deal of fun in reviewing every single one of her studio albums, compilation albums, and live records.

# 10 – Living In The U.S.A

We open up our Linda Ronstadt album covers list with the album high-spirited Living In The U.S.A. album cover. The Living In The U.S.A album was released on September 19, 1978. The album went all the way to number one on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 albums charts. The artwork for the album was designed by John Kosh. The London born artist would play a major role in designing many of Linda Ronstadt’s most famous album covers. While many classic rock fans may not know the name John Kosh, they certainly know of his work. John Kosh was responsible for designing the album covers to The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Let It Be, The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” and The Who’s Who’s Next.

John Kosh also designed many solo Beatles albums covers as well as album covers for bands such as ELO, Jimmy Buffett, Badfinger, Bad Company and many more. In the end, his biggest client was Linda Ronstadt who he designed twenty two album covers for while also winning multiple Grammy Awards for his work with Linda Ronstadt. It’s fitting that we start out this list with the work of John Kosh. In fact, most of the covers in this article were designed by John Kosh. He is just that good.

# 9 – Mad Love

Continuing with our Linda Ronstadt album covers list we take a look at Linda Ronstadt’s very cool and hip Mad Love album cover. The album and the cover stand out as outliers in Linda Ronstadt’s career. This was Linda Ronstadt’s New Wave album. Once again, the album cover was designed by John Kosh. The photography was credited to Peter Howe.  The album was released in early 1980. The album was a massive success selling over a million copies and spawning two top 10 singles in the new wave sounding “How Do I Make You,” and the remakes of the 1965 hit “Hurt So Bad.”

# 8 – Greatest Hits

When creating a best album covers list we always include all types of releases including greatest hits albums. We had to include this one because it’s classic. In 1976, Linda Ronstadt released her first greatest hits album. The cover was designed to look like a photo album or scrapbook. We love how the cover displayed all the song titles on the front. It’s unusual for an album cover to display the song titles on the front, but in this case, it worked beautifully.  The picture of Linda Ronstadt in the middle of the album cover is stunning. Pretty much every picture of Linda Ronstadt was stunning. John Kosh designed this cover.

# 7 -Prisoner In Disguise

In the number seven position on our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list is the classic album cover to the Prisoner In Disguise album. The use of black framing around a small photograph with titles in white and red added a dimension to the cover that made it stand out in record racks. Like all great John Kosh covers, the album title played a significant contribution to his design of the cover. The album was released on September 15, 1975. The Prisoner In Disguise album hit number four on the Billboard top 200 album charts.

# 6 –  Canciones de Mi Padre

Landing in the number six spot on our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list we present the album cover for the Canciones de Mi Padre album. After Linda Ronstadt had completed her wonderful three album excursion into the jazz world, her rock fans were probably expecting her to go back to her pop-rock sound. Instead, she followed her artistic heart and soul and released an album of Mexican traditional Mariachi music. The cover for the album pretty much defined that this was not a rock and roll record. John Kosh led the art direction and design for the album cover proving that he was very adaptable to Linda Ronstadt’s changing musical styles. The album was released in 1987.

# 5 – Linda Ronstadt

At the halfway point on our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list is the album simply entitled Linda Ronstadt. This was Linda Ronstadt’s third studio album. It was released in  1972. We love this cover because of its simplicity and the fact that ninety percent of the cover is filled with a dazzling headshot of Linda Ronstadt. The sepia tones also add to the cover’s pure and simple design. This is the first Linda Ronstadt album cover on this list that was not designed by John Kosh. The 1972 Linda Ronstadt album cover was designed by Dean Torrence and John Hoernle. Dean Torrence was the Dean in the 60s group Jan and Dean. Photography for the album cover was done by Ed Caraeff.

 # 4 – Silk Purse

How could we leave this cover off the list?  When it comes to shocking album covers or at least covers that turn heads, Linda Ronstatd’s cover to her Silk Purse album will always make the list. The album was released in 1970. It was Linda Ronstadt’s second studio album. There were no big hit singles released on the album, but that cover will always be remembered.

# 3 – Simple Dreams

Moving along on our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list we present the amazing album cover of Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams album. The record was released in 1977. Simple Dreams stands as one of the most successful albums Linda Ronstadt ever released. The album hit the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts and stayed in the  number one spot for five weeks in a row. The album spawned four huge hit singles including the songs “Blue Bayou,” “It’s So Easy,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” and her great cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice.” John Kosh won a Grammy Award for the design of the complete album package. This one was a big-time winner on so many fronts. 

# 2 – What’s New

In 1983, Linda Ronstadt shocked the music world when she decided to leave her throne as one of the most successful female rock and pop singers in the business, and jump into the world of jazz standards. This was an incredibly brave move by Linda Ronstadt because pop and rock singers had never really done anything like that before. The album was widely successful and is seen as the record that turned on a whole new generation of young music fans to the jazz standards of the early to mid-20th century. It also set the stage for many pop and rock artists such as Rod Stewart, Boz Scaggs, Robert Palmer and many more to eventually record their own jazz standard albums. The cover art was a beautiful representation of the glamour of the big band singers of the 1920s through 1950s. The album cover design was done by the legendary John Kosh and Ron Larson. The two men won a Grammy Award for their album cover.

# 1 – Hasten Down The Wind

We close out our top 10 Linda Ronstadt album covers list with the intoxicating cover for the Hasten Down The Wind album. This was a breathtaking cover designed by John Kosh with photography by Ethan Russell.  The album was released on August 1976. This was an album cover that was provocative in the dress she wore in a very classy and cinematic way. While the horse and water in the background played a significant part in the background, it was, of course, the stunning look and pose of Linda Ronstadt in the foreground that fans could not peel their eyes away from.  This intoxicating album cover stands in our opinion as the best cover design that the acclaimed designer ever came up with in his work with Linda Ronstadt. Ethan Russel’s use of lighting was also brilliant.

Top 10 Linda Ronstadt Album Covers article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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