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Jan. 23-24: Few artists were hotter than Linda Ronstadt in the late 1970s. Exposed as a child to about the most diverse musical background imaginable, Ronstadt hit big in the late ’60s as the vocalist for the folk-rock band The Stone Poneys. She went solo in 1969, building a catalog of well-received recordings. and largely trafficked in country-rock. She introduced the world to this wonderful countryesuqe interpretation of the Roy Orbison number in 1977.

Ronstadt never categorized her music, so we can’t call her a country singer — even though she had plenty of cuts like this, which couldn’t get within 10 miles of a “country” radio playlist today. But she was accepted by the country audience. “Rock people thought she was too gentle, folk people thought she was too pop and pop people didn’t quite understand where she was at,” wrote Country Western Stars magazine in 1970, “but Country people really loved Linda.” They loved this number enough to send it the No. 2 slot on the country charts, the same position it occupied on the pop chart and one tick higher than its Adult Contemporary peak. It reached gold record status on Jan. 23, 1978.

In short, practically everybody heard this song — not only as a single but as part of the smash multi-platinum album Simple Dreams. As you listen, note not only for Ronstadt’s great voice, but also Dan Dugmore’s tasty steel guitar.

Ronstadt has made other forays into country music throughout her career, as well as dabbling in Mexican sounds and traditional pop. Read more about her in this supremely well researched article on Wikipedia.

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