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Sunday, January 05, 2020

Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young (Updated)

UPDATED: 1/5/20 - ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON Saturday, March 02, 2019

Linda Ronstadt 2013 interview on Neil Young via Hudson Union | YouTube.

There is a recent resurgence in interest of Linda Ronstadt's career in light of her recent Kennedy Center Honors and a new documentary 'The Sound of My Voice' (see trailer below).

Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young's careers briefly -- but beautifully and brilliantly -- intersected back in the 1970s and continued until the late 1980's.

Early in her career, Linda Ronstadt sang backup vocals with James Taylor on Neil Young's #1 song "Heart of Gold" from the multi-platinum album "Harvest". Later, Ronstadt opened for Neil Young's 1973 "Time Fades Away" tour.

Linda Ronstadt covered Neil Young's "Birds" (from album After the Goldrush) on her 1972 self titled album. (See video above) Also, Ronstadt, with Nicolette Larson, sang on Neil Young's 1977 album, American Stars 'n Bars, with Linda Ronstadt on the tracks "Old Country Waltz", "Saddle Up the Palomino", "Bite the Bullet", "Hold Back the Tears", and "Hey Babe".

Linda Ronstadt also sang backup vocals on Neil Young's "Hanging on a Limb" and "The Ways of Love" on Freedom. She also sang on the Harvest Moon (Unknown Legend, From Hank to Hendrix, Harvest Moon, War of Man, One of These Days) and Silver & Gold (Red Sun) albums. (Thanks Babbo B. & Jeff G.!)

Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young - early/mid 1970's

In Neil Young's auto-biography "Waging Heavy Peace", he discusses Linda Ronstadt. In an interview with Linda Ronstadt on Hudson Union | YouTube she is asked about working with Neil Young. In this clip, Linda Ronstadt discusses how Neil Young's epilepsy condition impacted him. Her comments are even more heartfelt given Linda's own situation.

From an interview with on Ronstadt opening for Neil Young's 1973 "Time Fades Away" tour:
Linda Ronstadt: “Neil and I first met at the Troubadour, I think.

But we did the Johnny Cash Show together and he was recording, so he asked me to come along and sing harmonies. James Taylor was doing the same show and James came along and we recorded on 'Heart of Gold' and 'Old Man' for the Harvest album. It was a great record and friends of mine were playing on it. Kenneth was playing drums, so we were there all night long. We came out the next morning and it was snowing. I remember singing all night long and never getting bored.

I love Neil’s music.

As a club act, we weren't really ready for Madison Square Garden, but we did our best.

Larger venues ended up becoming a persistent issue. They did a pretty good job of trying to make it all work. But in those hard, huge cavernous spaces, it’s hard to do really, really quiet, subtle music. You need a small theater for that.

You know, when you’re finished with your show, you just want to get out of there and go home and do something else. It was good exposure for me. It really helped the record. In time, everyone developed a deep sense of camaraderie, as well.

I stayed every night for his [Neil Young] show, which was almost two hours long. He had great players. He had Kenneth Buttrey for part of that tour playing drums, [and] Tim Drummond.

It was really a great band.”
In Neil Young's auto-biography "Waging Heavy Peace", he writes that Linda Ronstadt once warned her protege Nicolette Larson not to get involved with him because "He doesn’t live in the real world". (Incidentally, Larson ignored Ronstadt’s advice and had her biggest career hit with the song Neil wrote for her “Lotta Love”.)

Linda Ronstadt : Love is a Rose (In Concert - Atlanta 1977)

From Linda Ronstadt on her best albums: “I’ve got a huge jukebox in my brain” by Tom Pinnock:
Linda Ronstadt: There were a lot of great writers around then [early 1970's].

California is like a big lens, people would come from other places and California would focus them. A guy like Bernie would come from Florida, or Glenn would come from Michigan, or Don from Texas, and by the time they got to California the Californian sensibility would put its own little spin on things. Then it would be broadcast to the world.

Neil Young is another one – I still think he’s one of the best guys that ever came out of rock’n’roll, he’s just brilliant.

Across The Border - Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young

Above video of Bruce Springsteen song, by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Neil Young. From the "Western Wall: Tucson Sessions" album.

Linda Ronstadt & Nicolette Larsen w/ Neil Young
American Stars & Bars sessions

Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young [purportedly & unconfirmed] Riding Horses

More on Neil Young's Musical Influences.

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At 1/05/2020 11:03:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Re-posting and updating this. The original publication had a lot of nice comments about Linda and we encourage folks to review those.

The recent CNN bio on Linda seems to have generated a considerable re interest in Linda's career.

in particular, we quite enjoyed the cover of Across The Border w/ Linda, Emmylou, & Neil. magical

At 1/05/2020 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Not only was Linda a remarkable and gifted singer, but she is a brilliant and knowledgeable musical student as well. Her understanding of the history of music is encyclopedic and she could easily be a music professor at any college in the world. Her interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS last year was insightful and extremely educational. Even though she is no longer able to sing, she is still a remarkable woman. I have always loved that voice of hers and our world is just not the same without it. Fortunately we have all her recordings that will out live us all.


At 1/05/2020 01:50:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

As I mentioned in another thread, she also sang on the Harvest Moon (Unknown Legend, From Hank to Hendrix, Harvest Moon, War of Man, One of These Days) and Silver & Gold (Red Sun) albums.

At 1/05/2020 01:56:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - a music professor might just be her legacy afterall given her body of work.

Not familiar with Tavis Smiley interview but will look up. thanks.

@ Babbo - right, yes, your comment earlier also sparked the re-post, as well. updated post. many thanks as always for corrections, etc

At 1/05/2020 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for the update. She has the triple crown; smart , talented and beautiful.

At 1/06/2020 12:26:00 AM, Blogger mark said...

Got to see/hear Linda twice, both times Neil related
..... on the TFA tour in '73
& dueting w/ Emmylou @ Bridge School '05
... what . a . phenomenal . voice !

At 1/06/2020 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Woodie Man said...

Its hard to believe that its been almost 50 years that I've been listening to Neil. Linda, Emmylou and the late great Nicolette Larson. While Neil is not in it, there is a great video on Youtube about the friendship between Linda, Emmylou and Dolly Parton.

There are not 4 more genuine people in music and my culture than Neil. Linda. Emmylou and Dolly Parton. They've filled my life with msic and I am eternally grateful.

At 1/06/2020 02:43:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your music graced my entire life Linda along with all your associates especially Neil. I spun your songs for some 27 years as an air personality and knowing that I brightened up people's lives was a heartfelt residual. My only grip with you is you stood me up for an arranged dinner at a Manhattan Beach restaurant back in the 70's because apparently Jerry flew in with a bad cold and requested your attention. I'm the one who gave you a crescent moon and Venus necklace. Aloha

At 1/06/2020 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Linda is a Masterpiece thanks Linda been a blast to me since the 70's l have spent endless hours in the groove with you and evev still love Elaine a long time fan.

At 1/06/2020 08:31:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Linda Cover of Dylan’s Tom Thumb’s Blues is a masterpiece.

At 1/06/2020 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ms. Ronstadt has placed a mark in music in every category she touched. She's absolute gold in entertaining all walks of life. There's not a day that passes in listening to her in English and Spanish; the sounds I grew up with my Grandmother. Her live presentations are dearly missed. Wishing her many more dreams and good health.Sorry I missed her in Albuquerque. It was one of her last showings. Neal Young and all the great artists I grew up with in the sixties & seventies are memories the younger generation ask about.Thank you all.

At 1/07/2020 08:09:00 AM, Blogger France said...

Linda is beautiful,talented,and one of my favorite artists of all time. Never have i got tired of listening to her music over and over again
Thank you linda for so much enjoyment throughout my life

At 1/07/2020 08:09:00 AM, Blogger France said...

Linda is beautiful,talented,and one of my favorite artists of all time. Never have i got tired of listening to her music over and over again
Thank you linda for so much enjoyment throughout my life

At 1/07/2020 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Linda Ronstadt was the first concert I ever attended. My big brother took me who loved her music. It was the late 70s, I was in Junior High. My brother would take his life in 1989. I miss him. Thanks to him I was introduced to an amazing artist and will never forget hearing and seeing Linda Ronstadt LIVE!

At 1/08/2020 01:58:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

A "Long, Long Time," "Different Drummer," also "Heart of Gold," "4 Strong Winds," & "Comes a Time," warm my heart.

At 1/13/2020 09:09:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

thats the first time I ever wanted a Cub Scout


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