Linda Ronstadt Celebrates 40 Years Of Simple Dreams With New Expanded Edition

Linda Ronstadt Celebrates 40 Years Of Simple Dreams With New Expanded Edition



As previously mentioned, Simple Dreams was Linda’s fifth Platinum album, and, a few months after its release, it ended Fleetwood Mac’s record-breaking 29-week stay atop the Billboard Album Chart when it knocked Rumours off the top.

Listen to Simple Dreams here.

Simple Dreams, like all of Linda Ronstadt’s albums, is full of great songs by a range of songwriters. Ronstadt was never really a songwriter; she was a great singer, a great interpreter, and she also had fantastic taste. With deep roots in country and folk music, and immersed in the thriving West Coast scene of the day, she had no shortage of songs to chose from. To celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary, and the release of the new edition, I Like Your Old Stuff here presents the original versions of the songs that comprise the album’s winning tracklist, in sequential order.

“It’s So Easy” by Buddy Holly 

The legendary Texan rock’n’roller continues to influence popular music decades after his premature death in 1959. In the ‘60s, the Beatles and Stones both covered him, in ’71 Don McLean eulogised him, and by 1977 Hollywood was making a film about him. One imagines Linda’s friend and former band member Glenn Frey – a Texan himself – was something of a fan too. Linda’s version of a Buddy flop was the second Top 5 hit off the album, and also her second cover of a Holly song to become a hit in as many years; her punchy version of "That'll Be the Day" had been the first single from her Hasten Down the Wind album in 1976.

“Carmelita” by Warren Zevon 

One of the many powerful songs on Warren Zevon’s self-titled album (his first, if you don’t count 1969’s misfire Wanted Dead or Alive). Zevon was a songwriters’ songwriter who all on the West Coast scene followed. Jackson Browne produced his first couple of Asylum albums, and various Eagles and Fleetwood Mac members appeared on them. Linda appeared on the second of the two. One can’t imagine the suits at Linda’s label would have been too comfortable about the line “And I’m all strung out on heroin on the outskirts of town” in the chorus; it was a brave move to include this on a pop album.

“Simple Man, Simple Dream” by J.D.Souther 

The other songwriters’ songwriter on the scene, Souther was almost an Eagle by proxy, and had been in the earlier country rock group Longbranch Pennywhistle with Glenn Frey. Souther released a number of great country rock records in the ‘70s but wouldn’t hit until “You’re Only Lonely” late in the decade. Linda recorded other Souther songs, including "Faithless Love" on Heart Like a Wheel and "White Rhythm and Blues" on Living in the USA.


To the best of our knowledge, Eric Kaz never recorded this one himself, despite recording a number of albums – solo, in a duo with Craig Fuller and with the group American Flyer (which also features Doug Yule of the Velvet Underground) - in the ‘70s. After his recording career stalled, Kaz made a name for himself as a writer with numerous country hits, and a number one pop hit, 'That's What Love is All About', as recorded by Michael Bolton.

“I Never Will Marry” by The Carter Family 

As mentioned, Linda has deep roots in country and folk, and country roots don’t get much deeper than the First Family of Country Music, The Carter Family, who first recorded this song in 1933. Johnny Cash’s wife June Carter Cash of course descended from the Carters, and there’s a nice clip of Linda performing the song with Johnny as far back as 1969 that we’ll show you too.

“Blue Bayou” By Roy Orbison 

Linda’s signative tune was written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson, and was originally a hit for Roy in 1963.

“Poor Poor Pitiful Me” by Warren Zevon 

The second track taken from Zevon’s 1976 Asylum record is a cracker (the title track for Linda’s previous album Hasten Down The Wind was also from that Zevon classic), and maybe pokes a bit of fun at some of the more sensitive singer-songwriters making the rounds in the ‘70s. A great, astute and poetic songwriter, Zevon had little time for sentimentality; his songs were hard as nails, and sometimes uproariously funny.


Another one we can’t find a previous version of to play you, this was written by Linda’s guitarist Waddy Wachtel. Waddy was also Warren Zevon’s guitarist, and as a sideman, his name would soon become synonymous with the Californian sound. Which made it something of a surprise when he turned up cranking out killer riffs in Keith Richard’s X-Pensive Winos a decade or so later.

“Tumbling Dice” by The Rolling Stones

Maybe Waddy wasn’t such a surprising choice after all, when you consider he would’ve played this great Stones tune night after night with Linda. Of course the Stones had strong roots in country as well, and this gem of a tune, originally from the great Exile On Main Street, is one of their greatest non-hits.

“Old Paint” by ?

Another example of Linda’s deep musical roots, Old Paint is a 19th Century Cowboy song. Whilst no one knows for sure who wrote it (it’s credited on Simple Dreams to ‘Trad’ – as in ‘Traditional’) it’s been attributed to a former-slave-turned-cowboy by the name of Charley Willis. We’re not sure where Linda first heard it, but that man Johnny Cash recorded in 1965.


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