Top 10 Stone Poneys Songs

Stone Poneys Songs

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

The top 10 songs from Stone Poneys peer into the discographic portfolio of a folk rock trio that featured Linda Ronstadt as lead vocalist, Kenny Edwards as lead guitarist, and Bobby Kimmel as rhythm guitarist. From 1965 until 1968, these three talents brought forth performances that would pave the way for each band member to launch successful careers of their own. Already at this point, Rondstadt was establishing herself as a world-class performer that was destined to become a singing legend.

Sweet Beginnings

Before meeting Bobby Kimmel in 1960, Linda Rondstadt was performing with her older siblings, Peter and Suzi, as The Three Ronstadts. At the time, she was a teenager that toured with them in the Tucson, Arizona area. It would be in 1960, they met Bobby Kimmel and his band, The New Union Ramblers. The powerful impression the fourteen-year-old Linda Ronstadt made on the twenty-year-old Bobby Kimmel prompted him to maintain contact with her as he was determined to recruit her as a fellow band member. During this time frame, Kimmel befriended Kenny Edwards and the two already developed a working relationship. After Ronstadt’s schooling days were behind her, she moved to Los Angeles, California, and joined the two men to start writing songs together.

Originally, the trio intended to start up as a five-person band with the intent to present themselves as a unique folk rock band. However, the roster downsized to a trio that would call themselves The Stone Poneys. The name was inspired by a 1929 song by the legendary blues singer, Charley Patton. The Stone Poneys spelled its name slightly differently than “The Stone Pony Blues” but the name stuck with the band while it enjoyed its three-year run.

This was during a time a certain Ocean Park restaurant named Olivia’s earned a reputation for great food and its connection to famous customers. It would be here The Stone Poneys would be discovered, leading the band to its first label, Mercury Records. At first, the trio was asked by Mercury to change the band’s name and performance style to suit surf-style music but they refused. This was a move that paid off for The Stone Poneys as they became a club circuit favorite in the Los Angeles area.

Signature Moves

As Stone Poneys, the trio performed in some notorious clubs at the time, including The Troubadour in Hollywood. They also performed in Greenwich Village in New York. Usually, they were an opening act for already well-established names such as The Chambers Brothers and Oscar Brown Jr. During this time, Linda Ronstadt was often performing bare-footed while sporting a mini skirt. It was also during this time the band’s manager at the time, Herb Cohen, blatantly suggested in front of the group that the only true talent that had a chance of earning a recording contract was Ronstadt. Instead of listening to his suggestion, Stone Poneys moved on and signed up with Capitol Records as one unit. There was a brief period Stone Poneys did part ways but the trio reunited in an attempt to move forward with a career aspiration Kenny, Kimmel, and Ronstadt shared together.

Like Cohen, Capitol suggested Linda Ronstadt perform as a solo artist. However, Nick Venet pointed out the songstress wasn’t quite ready yet for that. Keeping Stone Poneys together as a folk rock group was seen as a vital musical entity in order to ensure each band member honed in on their personal niches as performers. While under Venet’s guidance, Stone Poneys became the leading talent act in the genre of folk-rock. All three of the group’s albums were produced by Venet. The first was The Stone Poneys, which debuted on January 30, 1967. Its musical material was more folk-based instead of rock which rarely featured Ronstadt as lead vocalist. This recording didn’t garner much attention, which seemed to disappoint the band enough to engage in its second breakup.


Convinced Stone Poneys deserved a second shot, Nick Venet approached Kenny Edwards in an attempt to create something that would be commercially favorable for radio stations to play. Going into the recording of Evergreen, Volume 2, Linda Ronstadt was shifted to sing as a lead vocalist while Edwards and Kimmel performed music that was more rock-oriented. Released on June 12, 1967, the group’s second studio album achieved the commercial success everyone seemed to hope for. It produced two singles, “One for One” and “Different Drum.” While the first song failed to chart, the second became The Stone Poneys’ first official hit on a US Billboard music chart. However, it was edited according to Nick Venet’s vision that poured more focus on Ronstadt’s performance instead of her male counterparts.

While “Different Drum” was clearly the group’s most successful single, it also left a scar between the three bandmates. As the popularity of the song soared, the group was now recognized as Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys. In some cases, it would be The Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt. It was evident at this time the star of Ronstadt was shining much brighter than Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel.

Adding even more tension to the woes shared among the bandmates of The Stone Poneys was the drifting taste in music between Linda Ronstadt and Bobby Kimmel. This served as a catalyst that would launch Ronstadt forward as a solo recording artist. Going into the recording of The Stone Poneys’ third album, Kenny Edwards departed for India shortly after the project started. This left Kimmel and Linda Ronstadt to fill in the gap but after a less-than-ideal touring schedule with The Doors, Kimmel was next to leave The Stone Poneys behind him.

Riding Forward

Now on her own, Linda Ronstadt opted to move forward. Now in control of her career, she pieced musical material that was more suited to her style. She covered three Tim Buckley favorites for what would be the third and final album credited to The Stone Poneys. On April 29, 1968, Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III was released but at her own expense, even though it was a Capitol Records label. Even though Edwards and Kimmel were no longer recognized as members of The Stone Poneys after the release of the second album, they were still entitled to the royalties made from it. Ronstadt received none of that and was forced to finance the third album, as well as her first solo album.

Thanks to the popularity of “Different Drum,” and her lyrical talent, Linda Ronstadt’s financial woes last for too long. In 1969, she released her first solo album, Hand Sown…Home Grown. This met with enough success that would have the star continue her incredible recording career as a solo artist. As for her association with her former Stone Poneys bandmates, Ronstadt and Kenny Edwards began to work together in 1974 in recordings and concert tours. This continued until shortly after the release of 1987’s collaborative album, Trio. As for Ronstadt’s relations with Bobby Kimmel, the two worked together again for “Into the Arms of Love,” a song recorded as a member of his new band, BK Special.

Going into the 1970s, Pickwick was a record label that produced a collaboration album titled Stoney End. This was released as a recording belonging to Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys. It featured musical material the group recorded together, including The Youngbloods’ 1967 classic, “Let’s Get Together.” This was followed by the 1974 release of Different Drum, a compilation album credited to Linda Ronstadt. The content in that album included four remixed versions of previously recorded Stone Poneys tracks, as well as “Different Drum,” and five songs from the first three albums Ronstadt released as a solo artist.

While as a group from 1965 until 1968, Stone Poneys were a big hit on the West Coast. Aside from “Different Drum,” their nationwide recognition was hindered by music industry executives who didn’t share the same vision as all three members of the band. Because of this, tensions mounted that would send Kenny Edwards, Bobby Kimmel, and Linda Ronstadt down their own musical paths with different music-related projects. Rondstadt became one of the queens of 1970s rock while Edwards rose to fame during his run with Bryndle before teaming up with Ronstadt again as her bass guitarist. Bobby Kimmel’s path included founding the extremely successful McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California.

Top 10 Stone Poneys Songs

#10 – Just a Little Bit of Rain

Originally a 1965 Judy Henskerecording, “Just a Little Bit of Rain” was a song that featured Linda Ronstadt performing what was regarded as her strongest solo for The Stone Poneys studio album. This version was released in 1967, which also signaled the beginning of Ronstadt’s ascension to stardom as a singer. Before steering their musical direction to appease their record label, Stone Poneys performed as a group that leaned in favor of folk music. The roots of Ronstadt’s musical prowess began here as a young lady that was on the brink of superstardom.

#9 – 2:10 Train

From 1967’s The Stone Poneys album, “2:10 Train” was a song that featured Linda Ronstadt’s solo performance while she, Kenny Edwards, and Bobby Kimmel were struggling to get noticed as a folk rock group, at least in Los Angeles. This was a song that was covered by a long list of bluegrass and folk artists. Linda Ronstadt’s version of a song that’s been covered by many recording artists is often regarded as an all-time fan favorite. The sound of a beautiful woman’s voice blended in perfect harmony with a ride that felt like was passing through the valley of an old Western-style town.

#8 – Wild About My Lovin’

When the Stone Poneys recorded and released their debut album as a trio in 1967, Kenny Edwards, Bobby Kimmel, and Linda Ronstadt mostly sang in harmony. “Wild About My Lovin'” was a folk gem that would endear scores of recording artists to cover their own versions of this song. Although registered as a public domain song, The Lovin’ Spoonful first earned “Wild About My Lovin'” the status of a folksy favorite after recording it for the 1965 release of their album, Do You Believe in Magic. As for the version performed by Stone Poneys, the embers of Ronstadt’s prowess as one of the leading female vocalists to dominate the 1970s were evident here.

#7 – Back on the Street Again

From Evergreen, Volume 2, “Back on the Street Again” was a duet that featured Linda Ronstadt performing harmony vocals while Steve Gillette was the lead vocalist. During this song’s recording session, Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel were unhappy to learn Capitol Records kept them out of the studio. They were not informed Ronstadt and Gillette were scheduled to sing together. As unfortunate as this incident was, the performance of “Back on the Street Again’ was stunning.

“Back on the Street Again” was a song that would also be covered by Sunshine Company in 1967. For them, it was their biggest hit as it peaked at number thirty-six on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was about having to deal with certain lows that seem inevitable after riding successful highs. In a way, Ronstadt’s performance of this song served as an eerie catalyst of what Stone Poneys fate was to become. Although still a trio in 1967, it was evident the executive team who handled the group’s career saw more potential in Ronstadt than they did in Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel.

#6 – Stoney Island

“Stoney Island” was a 1967 Laura Nyro original before Barbra Streisand turned it into an all-time classic hit with her performance in 1970. Before her world-famous version was recorded and released, Linda Ronstadt also covered this song for the 1968 recording and release of Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III. It was later included in the 1972 release of Stoney End (Stone Poneys Album). It was a compilation of previously published folk music the group had to their credit while the lineup still included Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel. Linda Ronstadt’s version was hauntingly beautiful as a song that had her sing about something she could see at a spiritual level. On a personal level, Linda Ronstadt has considered herself to be a spiritual atheist.

#5 – Some of Shelly’s Blues

In Canada, “Some of Shelly’s Blues” became a modest number ninety-four hit after it was released as a single in 1968. This breakup song came from Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III, the third and final studio album recorded by a group that had already the original lineup gone their separate ways by this time. Also a Michael Nesmith-written song, “Some of Shelly’s Blues” highlighted the emerging singing style that would pave Ronstadt’s career as a recording artist.

The history of “Some of Shelly’s Blues” was originally recorded by The Monkees earlier but never released until thirty years later. Nesmith had this recorded on the 1973 release of his album, Pretty Much Your standard ranch Stash. It was also covered in 1970 by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, becoming a number sixty-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It’s also been covered by Earl Scruggs and many other notable recording artists.

#4 – Up to My Neck in Muddy Water

“Up to My Neck in Muddy Water” was a single released from the 1968 album, Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III. Although it did make a chart appearance on the US Billboard Hot 100, it didn’t peak beyond number ninety-three. This song was originally recorded in 1966 by The Greenbriar Boys for their album, Better Late Than Never! This survivalist-themed song was also featured on Linda Ronstadt’s compilation album, Different Drum, in 1974. On it, it was titled “(Up to My Neck In) High Muddy Water.” The credits still went to the original Stone Poneys trio of Ronstadt, Kenny Edwards, and Bobby Kimmel.

#3 – One for One

“One for One” was the first single released from Stone Poneys’ second studio album, Evergreen, Volume 2. Although it failed to make a hit on any of the official music charts, it revealed the transition of the group’s musical direction from primarily folk music to rock. It also marked the first of many songs that featured Linda Ronstadt as lead vocalist. Since its release, “One for One” was later covered by an American country rock group known as Eggs Over Easy. This was the same band that triggered the early 1970s pub rock music scene that swept the UK.

#2 – So Fine

“So Fine” was a 1955 Johnny Otis original that was covered by The Stone Poneys six years later. However, their version wasn’t released as a single until after “Different Drum” became a commercial success. It was released by Mike Curb without prior knowledge and approval by Capitol and Mercury, the labels who were responsible for its recording. As soon as they learned of it, “So Fine” was pulled from the market and has since become a rare collector’s item for Linda Ronstadt fans. Released by The Fiestas in 1959, “So Fine” became a number three hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as a number eleven hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. This song was also made famous by Jim Gribble’s attempt to steal the songwriting credit from Johnny Otis. This met with a lawsuit that proved The Sheiks recorded this song first in 1955 as material originally written by Otis.

#1 – Different Drum

After briefly breaking up as a band the second time, Stone Poneys agreed to work together under the production guidance of Nick Venet to record material for their second studio album, Evergreen, Volume 2. The Kenny Edwards, Bobby Kimmel, and Linda Ronstadt trio performed “Different Drum” a song that had Ronstadt sing as the lead vocalist. The original album version was twelve seconds longer than the edited single version that would become a number thirteen hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Different Drum” was written in 1965 by Michael Nesmith before he joined The Monkees. The version performed by The Stone Poneys became an oldies radio station favorite and remains one of Linda Ronstadt’s most popular songs.

The version performed by Stone Poneys reversed the male and female roles while Ronstadt sang as lead vocalist. Originally, the song was intended to be an acoustic ballad but Nick Venet suggested the song take on a more rock-oriented approach. Venet’s formula worked but doing so meant Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel were kept out of the single release version of a song that became the group’s first hit. The single’s recording process included future Eagles cofounder, Bernie Leadon, as well as Jim Gordon. So impressed with Linda Ronstadt’s passionate performance of “Different Drum,” Nesmith vocally changed his original closing verse to better match hers.

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