Linda Ronstadt’s Biggest Hits In Australia

Linda Ronstadt’s Biggest Hits In Australia

linda ronstadt
Photo of Linda Ronstadt Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. 

With a career straddling over four decades and numerous genres, Linda Ronstadt is one of the most successful and respected American female singers of all time. Although she has been retired since 2011 after it was discovered she was unable to sing due to degenerative condition progressive supranuclear palsy, Linda’s diverse and extensive back catalogue is filled with musical treasures, including her biggest singles on the Australian chart.

8. "Somewhere Out There" (with James Ingram)

Released: 1987

Peak: number 31

After a musical detour that saw her release of trio of jazz albums in the mid-’80s, Linda returned to the mainstream in a big way with this ballad from the soundtrack to animated film An American Tail. A million-selling number 2 hit in the US, the duet with soul singer James Ingram also won two Grammy Awards, including Song Of The Year.

7. "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"

Released: 1977

Peak: number 29

Although her US top 5 version of Buddy Holly and The Crickets’ “It’s So Easy” was unsuccessful in Australia, Linda’s lyrically adjusted reinterpretation of Warren Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, which also appeared on the Simple Dreams album, did give her a second solo hit here. Released by Warren on his self-titled album the year previously, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” is a dark tale of suicide and abuse, although Linda’s version removed some of the more confronting elements.

6. "How Do I Make You"

Released: 1980

Peak: number 19

Linda’s first single for the ’80s took her in more of a rock and new wave direction. Written by future hit-maker Billy Steinberg (who’d team up with Tom Kelly to write everything from “Like A Virgin” to “Eternal Flame”), “How Do I Make You” had been influenced by The Knack’s “My Sharona”. The song was Linda’s only song to reach the Australian top 20 during the ’80s.

5. "Back In The U.S.A."

Released: 1978

Peak: number 18

Written and originally recorded by Chuck Berry in 1959, “Back In The U.S.A.” served as the lead single from Linda’s ninth album, Living In The USA. Subsequent remakes released from the album, “Just One Look” (number 38) and “Ooh Baby Baby/Love Me Tender” (number 76), did not fare as well locally, although the album peaked at number 3.

4. "You’re No Good"

Released: 1975

Peak: number 15

Linda’s first solo hit in Australia was also her first chart-topping single in the US. Establishing a pattern of cover versions that would continue for the remainder of the decade, “You’re No Good” had already been recorded three times – originally be Dee Dee Warwick in 1963 – but it was the first to be successful in Australia. Linda had been performing the song in concert for some time before it was included as a last-minute addition to her Heart Like A Wheel album.

3. "Different Drum" (with Stone Poneys

Released: 1967

Peak: number 7

Formed in the mid-’60s, folk trio Stone Poneys featured a then-teenage Linda on vocals and reached the Australian top 10 with their version of a song written by a pre-Monkees Michael Nesmith. As with “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, the Stone Poneys’ version of “Different Drum” changed the gender of the lyrics. The year after, Linda embarked on her solo career.

2. "Blue Bayou"

Released: 1977

Peak: number 3

A hit for on the Billboard mainstream, country and easy listening charts, Linda's rendition of Roy Orbison’s Australian chart-topping single might have fallen two places short of the 1963 original here, but it did help Simple Dreams go to number 1 on the albums chart for five weeks in early 1978. As well as becoming one of her best known English-language songs, “Blue Bayou” was recorded by Linda in Spanish as well.

1. "Don’t Know Much” (with Aaron Neville)

Released: 1989

Peak: number 2

Taking off in Australia in early 1990, this duet between Linda and the Neville Brothers member finally turned a decade-old song into a hit, after recordings by Bill Medley, Bette Midler (as “All I Need To Know”), and one of its writers, Barry Mann, had all flopped, and a number of other recordings had been limited to album tracks. The Grammy-winning collaboration was one of four duets between the pair included on Linda’s Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind album.

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