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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Following the same formula as her early records, Heart Like a Wheel doesn't appear to be a great breakthrough on the surface. However, Ronstadt comes into her own on this mix of oldies and contemporary classics. Backed by a fleet of Los Angeles musicians, Ronstadt sings with vigor and passion, helping bring the music alive. But what really makes Heart Like a Wheel a breakthrough is the inventive arrangements that producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt, and the studio musicians have developed. Finding the right note for each song -- whether it's the soulful reworking of "When Will I Be Loved," the hit "You're No Good," or the laid-back folk-rock of "Willing" -- the musicians help turn Heart Like a Wheel into a veritable catalog of Californian soft rock, and it stands as a landmark of '70s mainstream pop/rock. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released June 29, 2012 | Rhino - Elektra

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Rock - Released January 1, 1985 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Following the same formula as her early records, Heart Like a Wheel doesn't appear to be a great breakthrough on the surface. However, Ronstadt comes into her own on this mix of oldies and contemporary classics. Backed by a fleet of Los Angeles musicians, Ronstadt sings with vigor and passion, helping bring the music alive. But what really makes Heart Like a Wheel a breakthrough is the inventive arrangements that producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt, and the studio musicians have developed. Finding the right note for each song -- whether it's the soulful reworking of "When Will I Be Loved," the hit "You're No Good," or the laid-back folk-rock of "Willing" -- the musicians help turn Heart Like a Wheel into a veritable catalog of Californian soft rock, and it stands as a landmark of '70s mainstream pop/rock. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Pop - Released February 1, 2019 | Rhino

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Billed as Linda Ronstadt's first-ever live album, 2019's Live in Hollywood captures highlights from an April 24, 1980 concert previously aired on HBO in 1980. Live in Hollywood doesn't match the set list of the HBO special. Instead, Ronstadt selected 12 performances from the 20-song concert, nine of which didn't make the air back in 1980. Generally, the songs selected for Live in Hollywood avoid the new wave elements that characterized Mad Love, the 1980 album Ronstadt was promoting at the time -- the propulsive "How Do I Make You" and "I Can't Let Go" made the cut, but the title track and Elvis Costello cover "Party Girl" were left behind -- but there are certainly elements that date the performance to 1980, particularly the synth drum pinging in the background. Set such period accoutrements aside, and the album glides by with the skill and ease of seasoned SoCal professionals, and Ronstadt stands at the center of it all as a compelling presence. These 12 tracks casually illustrate her facility with both soft rock and old-time rock & roll, and if the set list leans heavily on oldies, the combination of guts and polish makes her renditions memorable. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released September 15, 2017 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released June 24, 2015 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released May 23, 2014 | Rhino - Elektra

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World - Released April 29, 2016 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Records

The title of Capitol's 2006 collection The Best of Linda Ronstadt: The Capitol Years is a little misleading: this isn't a mere single-disc overview of hits; this double-disc set is a virtual complete recorded works of Ronstadt's stint at Capitol between 1969-1974, encompassing the entirety of four albums -- her 1969 solo debut, Hand Sown..Home Grown, its 1970 sequel, Silk Purse, 1972's self-titled third album, and its 1974 follow-up, Heart Like a Wheel, which brought her stardom -- plus five bonus tracks, two of them capturing her live at The Troubadour. Apart from Heart Like a Wheel, these LPs for Capitol were not hits, due partially to the fact that Ronstadt was still finding her footing as a record-maker during this time. It wasn't until her eponymous third album that everything began to click, thanks to her finally finding a sympathetic backing band (who would become Eagles not long after this record was cut), and then producer Peter Asher came in for Heart Like a Wheel and helped her find a slick, streamlined variation of her soft country-rock. And while it's true that her first two albums sometimes find her stumbling as she tries to blend country, pop, and folk while working with session musicians (some less-charitable listeners might find such period flair as fuzz-toned steel guitar as a detriment, too, although there's a certain undeniable charm to these dated sounds), they have aged remarkably well, warts and all, because they showcase a singer with excellent taste and restless ambition. Ronstadt was never a songwriter, but she had a terrific ear for good songs, choosing them primarily from the plethora of great singer/songwriters who cluttered the landscape in the late '60s and early '70s -- not just Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Randy Newman, but Fred Neil, Mickey Newbury, Paul Siebel, Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon, Livingston Taylor, Eric Andersen, John D. Loudermilk, Wayne Raney, and Lowell George, among others. Her interpretations, while not idiosyncratic, were energetic and impassioned, an appealing blend of laid-back Californian country-rock, folky songs, and pop attitude that was enjoyable even when it wasn't always entirely successful. Yet, in retrospect, especially in the context of this generous collection, the awkwardness of her first two albums no longer seems so pronounced. In fact, Hand Sown...Home Grown and Silk Purse look like flawed minor gems, while Linda Ronstadt and Heart Like a Wheel still stand as high-water marks of '70s Californian soft rock. And this double-disc set, boasting fine remastering and liner notes (which remain good even if there are no details about the bonus tracks and Lowell George is credited as "George Lowell"), is the definitive portrait of Ronstadt at her creative peak, when she was a vital part of Los Angeles' thriving music scene of the early '70s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Elektra

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As perhaps should be expected from a double-disc collection bearing 30 tracks, Just One Look: Classic Linda Ronstadt does indeed cover most of Ronstadt's career, beginning with the Stone Poneys' "Different Drum" and running into the late '90s, when she wrapped up her time with Elektra Records. This doesn't mean each era gets equal weight, however. Just One Look emphasizes her latter-day adult contemporary material over her cracking early country-rock, a trade-off that will likely satisfy listeners familiar with Ronstadt mainly through the radio. This does mean there are some terrific works left behind -- her big breakthrough "You're No Good" comes just six songs into this collection, so anything prior to that gets short shrift, but this settles into a good soft rock groove and should satisfy a listener who wants nothing but hits, and a lot of them at that. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released May 23, 2014 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released December 19, 2006 | Rhino - Elektra

Round Midnight is a two-disc box set that compiles all three of the traditional pop albums Linda Ronstadt recorded with Nelson Riddle (What's New, Lush Life, and For Sentimental Reasons). Only dedicated fans will need to own all three of the albums, and, for those listeners, this is a classy way to purchase them. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released April 4, 2014 | Rhino

By nature, Linda Ronstadt isn't a solo singer. She started her career in the Stone Poneys and during the height of her fame she was happy to harmonize on records by friends; later still, she joined Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris in the group Trio. Duets, a compilation released on the eve of her 2014 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, doesn't concentrate on this considerable legacy as a harmonizer, preferring instead to pick 14 previously released duets from throughout Ronstadt's career, adding an unreleased version of "Pretty Bird" with Laurie Lewis as mild collector bait. Much of this dates from the latter part of Linda's career: it opens with three selections from Adieu False Heart, her 2006 album with Ann Savoy, and is anchored by her hit duets with Aaron Neville ("Don't Know Much," "All My Life") and James Ingram ("Somewhere Out There"), making a sideways glance at her career as a standards singer via an OK selection from Frank Sinatra's Duets album ("Moonlight in Vermont"). The liveliest stuff comes from her golden age of the late '70s -- "Hasten Down the Wind" with Don Henley, "Prisoner in Disguise" with J.D. Souther, "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine" with James Taylor, "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)" with Emmylou Harris -- but generally, this Duets emphasizes the sweeter, softer, and slower side of Ronstadt, a move that makes for pleasant listening. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released September 15, 1986 | Elektra Records

For Sentimental Reasons was the last traditional pop album Linda Ronstadt recorded with Nelson Riddle, and it's virtually indistinguishable from its two predecessors -- it has the same sweeping arrangements, and her voice remains adequate, not spectacular. That said, For Sentimental Reasons is notable since it contains a high percentage of familiar -- some might say overly familiar -- standards like "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "My Funny Valentine," "Am I Blue," and "'Round Midnight," which might make the album more appealing to casual fans who want to hear Ronstadt sing songs they know if they're going to hear her in this setting. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released December 19, 2006 | Rhino - Elektra

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Pop - Released December 19, 2006 | Rhino - Elektra

Featuring a broader array of styles than any previous Linda Ronstadt record, Simple Dreams reconfirms her substantial talents as an interpretive singer. Ronstadt sings Dolly Parton ("I Never Will Marry") with the same conviction as the Rolling Stones ("Tumbling Dice"), and she manages to update Roy Orbison ("Blue Bayou") and direct attention to the caustic, fledgling singer/songwriter Warren Zevon ("Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "Carmelita"). The consistently adventurous material and Ronstadt's powerful performance makes the record rival Heart Like a Wheel in sheer overall quality. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released April 7, 1987 | Elektra Asylum

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Pop - Released January 1, 1995 | Capitol Records

Abandoning California for Nashville, Linda Ronstadt does take a stab at relatively straight-ahead country on her second album, Silk Purse. She's changed location and producers -- Elliot Mazer, who'd later be Neil Young's right-hand man for archival projects, helmed this -- but she hasn't quite thrown herself into the maelstrom of Music City here. Many of the soft, flowery flourishes of Hand Sown…Home Grown have been traded in for steel guitars and echoing acoustics, a move that definitely reads country, but Ronstadt's sensibility remains rooted on the West Coast, favoring great emerging songwriters and revived, reworked versions of classics. Only a couple of these are classic country, however -- just Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" and Mel Tillis' "Mental Revenge," which are balanced by Goffin/King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "I'm Leaving It All Up to You," R&B hits given nice country rearrangements (the latter in particular feels suited to its new barroom rendition). These rearrangements, alongside covers of Gene Clark & Bernie Leadon's "He Darked the Sun" and Paul Siebel's "Louise," suggest that Ronstadt's sensibility is a bit more cosmopolitan than country, but that's the great thing about Silk Purse: perhaps she didn't find her voice, not in the way she would a year later on her eponymous record, but this Nashville excursion had a clarifying effect, whittling down the musical excesses and strengthening her aesthetic while winding up a nifty little record in its own right. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Vanguard Records