Top 10 Linda Ronstadt Albums

Linda Ronstadt Albums

Photo: Rob Bogaerts / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 Linda Ronstadt albums list presents 10 fabulous Linda Ronstadt albums that have been a huge part of so many Classic Rock Fans lives. Linda Ronstadt stands as  one of the most popular and successful female rock artists of all times. Throughout the course of her career, she has released twenty four studio albums. In the seventies, she released hit after hit breaking into the US Billboard Hot 100 singles charts almost forty times. Linda Ronstadt’s voice was a staple on the radio in the 1970s and 1980s. She crossed the genres of pop music, rock and roll and country better than almost anyone who had ever come before her. With a voice that would cut right through you, spin you around and never let you go, Linda Ronstadt became one of the most loved singers of all the time. With such a large collection of albums released, it was tough to just choose ten Linda Ronstadt albums for our list. There are so many great ones. Nonetheless, here are our 10 favorite Linda Ronstadt albums. This Linda Ronstadt albums list focuses mostly on her 1970s albums and some early 80s material.

# 10 – Linda Ronstadt

We open up our top 10 Linda Ronstadt albums list with the singer’s third album release simply entitled Linda Ronstadt. The Linda Ronstadt album was released in 1972. Even though the album itself did not sell big time, there are just so many great classic songs released on the record. The album opened up with a sensational performance of Jackson Browne’s “Rock Me On The Water.” Linda Ronstadt quickly showed off her versatility in song selections by going to “Crazy Arms,” by Ralph Moody and Chuck  Seals on the album’s second track. Linda Ronstadt then hits up a Johnny Cash song called “I still Miss Someone,” that just simply breaks your heart. The album’s lead single opened up side two entitled “I Fall to Pieces,” written by Hank Cochran and Harold Howard. The album featured a wide assortment of musicians as most Linda Ronstadt albums would. Her records often featured members of The Eagles. Eagles members who performed on the Linda Ronstadt album included Glenn Frey, Don Henley and J. D. Souther.

# 9 – Silk Purse

Continuing with our top 10 Linda Ronstadt albums list we turn to the singer’s second album entitled Silk Purse. This album was recorded in Nashville giving it a very heavy country vibe. Two singles were released from the record including Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” released on March 2 1970 and “Long Long Time,” released on June 15th 1970. Linda Ronstadt put together a touring band to promote the album which included Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Henley. Four musician’s who seemed to get along well, play incredibly well together. They eventually formed their own band that we all came to know as The Eagles.

# 8 – What’s New

In 1983, Linda Ronstadt did what basically no other rock star had done before, record an album of standards. It was a huge risk for the singer who was on top of the world as a pop artist. Nonetheless, she hit a home run with the album. This album turned on so many classic rock and roll fans to the music of their parents. It was a wonderful experiment that was incredibly successful. It stands as probably the best jazz standards album ever recorded by a pop singer. It also led the way for so many more artists including Rod Stewart, Boz Scaggs, Carly Simon and so many others to also give Jazz standards a try. One of our favorite albums of all time.

# 7 – Don’t Cry Now

At number seven on our top 10 Linda Ronstadt albums list is her 1973 release Don’t Cry Now. The album featured the singles “Love Has No Pride,” released on October 15th 1973, “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” released on February 4th 1974, and the song “Colorado,” released on June 17th 1974. Don’t Cry Now was Linda Ronstadt’s fourth album release. It became her highest-charting album so far in her career. Within the year, Linda Ronstadt would become a huge star.

# 6 – Prisoner In Disguise

The Prisoner In Disguise album was released in 1975. By this time, Linda Ronstadt was one of the biggest stars in the world due to her previous album Heart Like a Wheel.  The Linda Ronstadt album Prisoner In Disguise continued her amazing chart success. The song featured three big hit singles including Neil Young’s “Love Is A Rose,” the Martha and the Vandellas song “Heat Wave,” and the great Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song “Tracks Of My Tears.” Linda Ronstadt was defining herself as one of the great song interpreters of the 20th century. For many young teen music fans just growing up in the 70s, they were hearing these classic 1960 songs for the first time by the great Linda Ronstadt.

# 5 – Mad Love

Linda Ronstadt’s Mad Love album was a Linda Ronstadt album you either loved or hated. Here at classicrockhistory we absolutely loved it. In fact, it’s our favorite Linda Ronstadt album. This was an album unlike Linda Ronstadt had ever recorded before. The album focused on the popularity of New Wave Music at the time. Bands like Blondie, Elvis Costello and many more like them were very popular at the time. Linda Ronstadt covered three Elvis Costello songs on the record concluding “Party Girl, Talkin In The Dark and Girls Talk.” Three great recordings and interpretations of Elvis Costello’s music. The three Mark Goldenberg recording including the title track “Mad Love,” were also just brilliant. The album’s standout track was the Billy Steinberg song “How Do I Make You.” This was by far, the album’s most New Wavish style song. However, it wasn’t all new wave as Linda Ronstadt also recorded a version of The Little Anthony Imperials song “Hurt So Bad,” which was a huge hit.

# 4 – Hasten Down The Wind

In 1976, Linda Ronstadt released the great album Hasten Down The Wind. The album was a huge seller from Linda Ronstadt selling over a million copies. The album contained four wonderful singles. Linda Ronstadt would continue her coverage of the music of Buddy Holly with the album’s first single entitled “That’ll be The Day.” Our favorite song on the album was also released as the second single and closed the album out entitled “Someone To Lay Down Beside To Me.” A beautiful song written by Karla Bonoff. Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” was released as the album’s third single. The album’s title track “Hasten Down The Wind,” was written by Warren Zevon. And of course we can’t fail to mention the beautiful album opener and fourth single entitled “Lose Again,” which was another Karla Bonoff composition. Hasten Down The Wind is just simply a spectacular album.

# 3 – Living in the USA

It was hard to put these next three Linda Ronstadt albums in any order because they were such huge albums for the singer. Linda Ronstadt’s album Living In The U.S.A, was released in 1978. The album contained five big hit singles including Chuck Berry’s “Back In The U.S.A.” released as the album’s first single in August of 1978. This was a Linda Ronstadt vocal we just could not get enough of. Speaking of Linda Ronstadt’s fabulous vocals, the album’s next single entitled “Ooh Baby Baby,” was just simply stunning. It would become the album’s highest charting single breaking the Billboard top 10 and peaking at number seven. That song was followed by the great single of “Just One Look.” The fourth single was Linda Ronstadt’s first stab at an Elvis Costello song called “Allison.” A preview of what was to come on her next album Mad Love. The album cover featuring Linda Ronstadt on roller skates was a pop culture tribute to the USA theme.

# 2 – Heart Like a Wheel

Linda Ronstadt’s album Heart Like a Wheel was her breakthrough album. The album was released in 1974. It would become her first album to hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. The album sales success was fueled by the records first single, the incredibly successful “You’re No Good.” It was a dark moody song that you couldn’t go 15 minutes without hearing on the radio in 1974. The album’s third single “When Will I Be Loved,” was another smash hit written by Phil Everly. Linda Ronstadt also covered a Paul Anka song in the tune “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” The album closed out with a great James Taylor tune called “You Can Close Your Eyes.” Musician and artist Andrew Gold played a significant role in the recording and collaboration with Linda Ronstadt on the album as well as a good portion of her 70s music.

# 1 – Simple Dreams

We close out our top 10 Linda Ronstadt albums list with her 1977 album entitled Simple Dreams. The Simple Dreams album would become Linda Ronstadt’s biggest selling album of her career. The album would feature some of her most popular singles she ever released including the albums debut single and Roy Orbison’s classic “Blue Bayou.” That single was followed by a Buddy Holly cover entitled “It’s So Easy” and followed by the third single entitled “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” released in January of 1978. Linda Ronstadt covered the classic Rolling Stones song when she released the single “Tumbling Dice,” in April of 1978. The albums final single entitled I Never Will Marry was also released in April 1978. The Simple Dreams album has since gone triple platinum

 Linda Ronstadt Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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