10 Most Streamed Linda Ronstadt Songs
HBO's "The Last of Us" introduced a whole new audience to the legendary singer Linda Ronstadt through her song "Long, Long Time," which was played in the show's third episode. Spotify reported that the song had a 4,900 percent increase in streams in what is now being described as her Kate Bush moment.
But Ronstadt's career speaks for itself. With her songs consistently topping the charts in the 1970s and 1980s, she was the most successful female singer of the '70s and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards and even an Emmy Award — all of which have amassed her a net worth of $130 million.
So, which Linda Ronstadt songs are the most popular? These 10 have the most streams on Spotify, which will only continue to grow in the coming weeks.
10. Long, Long Time
Year released: 1970
Number of streams: 8,204,468
Bottom line: Thanks to the popularity of "The Last of Us," a whole new generation is discovering Ronstadt through this song about unrequited love. It was a minor hit for the singer in 1970, charting for 12 weeks and reaching No. 25 on the Billboard charts.
While she won't make any money from the song's resurgence (she sold her catalog a few years back), she's happy to see it doing well. "I still love the song and I’m very glad that (songwriter) Gary [White] will get a windfall.”
Year released: 1973
Number of streams: 10,336,504
Bottom line: "Desperado" is one of the Eagles' most well-known tunes, so much so that it's made Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
But it wasn't the Eagles that made the song famous — it was, according to Don Henley, Linda Ronstadt, whose version reached No. 2 on the pop charts.
Ronstadt actually brought the Eagles together for her "Silk Purse" tour in 1971. The musicians' chemistry was so undeniable that they broke off to form the Eagles, and the rest is history.
8. Somewhere Out There (With James Ingram)
Year released: 1986
Number of streams: 12,295,373
Bottom line: In the late 1980s, Ronstadt made her way into movie soundtracks. This song was recorded for "An American Tail," a Steven Spielberg-produced animated film about a family of mice who move from Ukraine to the United States. Brother and sister mice Fievel and Tanya get lost and sing the song when dreaming of the day they'll reunite.
Ronstadt and James Ingram recorded the pop version, which was a U.S. smash, reaching No. 2 on the charts. In 1988, it won two Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.
7. It's So Easy
Year released: 1977
Number of streams: 15,657,705
Bottom line: Ronstadt did several covers of Buddy Holly songs, and this was the biggest. It peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot 100. (In contrast, Holly's version never even charted.)
Sometimes, she would change the lyrics to: "It's so easy to have a hit, All you have to do is recycle it."
6. Wildflowers (With Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris)
Year released: 1987
Number of streams: 25,113,586
Bottom line: Ronstadt tried different genres and saw success in every one of them. She released albums of standards, traditional Mexican music (in honor of her heritage), and country and western.
Her two county albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris were smash hits. The first, "Trio" released in 1987, won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal as well as an Academy of Country Music award and a Country Music Award.
"Wildflowers" is a popular track from the album, written by Dolly Parton. In 2008, it was played at a Texas State Democratic Party reception to honor former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, who loved the flowers.
5. Different Drum
Year released: 1967
Number of streams: 25,354,499
Bottom line: This single by the Stone Poneys was the first ever hit for Ronstadt, who was a member of the band. Their first album went nowhere, but this song, written by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees in 1964, was featured on their second album and became a bonafide and immediate classic.
The band charted once more in the top 100 but broke up soon after, and Ronstadt struck out on her own to become one of the top female vocalists of the 1970s.
4. When Will I Be Loved
Year released: 1975
Number of streams: 32,560,213
Bottom line: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers penned the original, which was a hit for the duo in 1960. But Ronstadt's cover bears virtually no resemblance to the '60s classic. She made it all her own, and it charted at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and even topped the country charts.
Manfred Mann, John Denver, Dolly Parton, John Fogerty and Martina McBride have all covered the classic, but Ronstadt's version is the most well-known to date.
3. You're No Good
Year released: 1974
Number of streams: 43,376,855
Bottom line: This song was one of Ronstadt's biggest singles. It was originally recorded by Dee Dee Warwick (sister to Dionne) in 1963. Ronstadt had been performing it live for years before it was released and included in her "Midnight Special" appearance. It was her biggest hit to date at that time, topping the Billboard Charts.
However, she didn't like the song, particularly the instrumental section. According to producer Peter Asher, she said, "It sounds like the Beatles."
She also wasn't crazy about her voice: "It’s a live vocal, and it’s a terrible vocal. I was so tired. It was about getting the phrasing — I just felt like I had rushed the timing and didn’t just lay back in the groove. That was before I’d really learned about overdubbing and comping."
(We'll just agree to disagree.)
2. Don't Know Much (With Aaron Neville)
Year released: 1989
Number of streams: 63,894,147
Bottom line: "Don't Know Much" was written by Barry Mann for his 1980 self-titled LP, but it didn't become a hit until Ronstadt recorded it with Aaron Neville in 1989. The ballad peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and reached the top spot on its Hot Adult Contemporary Chart. In 1990, the duo won a grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It also received a nod for Song of the Year.
At the time, Ronstadt and Neville were said to be dating, but Neville put the rumor to rest in 2013. "The guy who directed [the video] called us in a room and said, 'Look — if y'all ain't gonna make this thing believable, there ain't no sense in doin' it.' Linda's a pretty woman — it wasn't hard to portray that. But they had all kinda stupid rumors out. None of 'em were true 'cos we're friends. We respected each other. But I look at the video, and it looks kinda suspect."
1. Blue Bayou
Year released: 1977
Number of streams: 77,874,668
Bottom line: "Blue Bayou" is considered Ronstadt's signature song. It was penned by Roy Orbison, who had a minor hit with it in the early 1960s. But Ronstadt's version peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Over time, Ronstadt resented this and other songs that made her famous, saying, "I hated those records ... I never thought of myself as a rock singer. It wasn't until I found Nelson Riddle (standards arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator) that I had music I could live with."
In the 1980s, she released three albums of traditional pop standards with Riddle at the helm.