Linda Ronstadt is 71 years old today.
With a mix of the mariachi music she sang as child, American country music, and 70s rock, Linda Ronstadt created her own genre, and she coined it “Mexican Bluegrass”. Although, her record label didn’t believe that her genre would be appealing to the American masses, she managed to negotiate that any hit song from her albums that were released as a 45 record single would be published with the Spanish version on the backside.
Linda got her start in the late 60s at the iconic rock club, the Troubadour, in West Hollywood, California—and The Eagles were her backup band. When Glenn Frey and Don Henley told her they were ready to branch off and create their own band, she enthusiastically supported them, even recording one of their songs, “Desperado“, making it a massive hit, helping them attain validity in the music industry. She would go on to work with The Music Greats of her generation, including Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and more.
2014: Linda Ronstadt is inducted into
the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame
In 2014, she was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. By this time, she had become too ill with Parkinson’s disease to travel, and, sadly, Parkinson’s also robbed her of her sweet voice. Music legends Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris, as well as Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood, gave a tribute performance in her honor that had the audience—especially Bill Murray—rocking out of their chairs with the memories of her classic songs.
Two icons—soldaderas (female soldiers)—talk about music, social justice and Mexican culture
In a funny, insightful interview Linda and Dolores Huerta talk about Mariachi music, the important role that music plays in instilling pride of one’s heritage, the need to recognize female strength in society, the so-called border wall.
“It’s really important to be a student of history, to know whose shoulders you’re standing on. It just takes one generation to forget what Dolores and Cesar Chavez did for the farm workers, and it cannot be forgotten — there are 15-year-old kids who don’t know this history.”
What makes people fall in love with Mariachi music?
It gives you who you are! I’ve seen it time and time again when the audience gets really Mexican—they get a lot of Mexican in their spine and stand up real straight and be proud. I thought if there is anything I did in my whole career that I am most proud of is that I made people proud that they’re Mexican, that it’s their heritage.
The Voice of an Angel
As this tribute comes to an end, The Cheriebomb sends you off with the soothing sounds of one of Linda’s most well-loved songs.