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Top 5 Linda Ronstadt Songs

Linda Ronstadt
Richard McCaffrey, Getty Images

Linda Ronstadt had many songs, but charted no fewer than 11 Top 40 country hits during a 40-year career that ended when she revealed her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. While best known as a pop and rock singer, her knowledge and proficiency in country music is well-known amongst her most loyal fans. Emotional covers of Patsy Cline‘s ‘Crazy’ and Dolly Parton‘s ‘I Will Always Love You’ (her version inspired Whitney Houston’s) are two of the recordings that didn’t make this list of her Top 5 country songs.

Ronstadt’s No. 1 hit with Parton and Emmylou Harris also doesn’t make this list, as it seemed more appropriate to stick to her solo cuts. The ‘Trio’ album from 1987 earned the singer her second Grammy for a country music recording. The first Grammy in that category tops this list.

Asylum Records
Asylum Records


‘Poor, Poor Pitiful Me’

From ‘Simple Dreams’ (1977)



Linda Ronstadt was the first to cover Warren Zevon’s 1976 song, doing so 20 years before Terri Clark would make it a Top 5 country single. Ronstadt’s version captured the dark humor of Zevon’s original and is regarded as one of her finest vocal performances.


Asylum Records
Asylum Records


‘Love Is a Rose’

From ‘Prisoner in Disguise’ (1975)



This Top 5 country single for Linda Ronstadt is a cover of a Neil Young song. The singer would make a career covering deep cuts (or hits) from other artists. Her versions were always unique, and ‘Love Is a Rose’ is no different. The simple banjo and beautiful harmonies that surround Ronstadt turn this into one undeniable country hit.


Capitol Records
Capitol Records


‘When Will I Be Loved’

From ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ (1974)



This Everly Brothers cover was her only No. 1 country hit as a solo artist. She switched the order of the verses in this uptempo country rocker. After releasing the song on the 1974 ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ album, Ronstadt switched record labels. This is a song younger country fans have no doubt heard dozens of times, but never knew who sang it.


Asylum Records
Asylum Records


‘Blue Bayou’

From ‘Simple Dreams’ (1977)



Ronstadt’s songs are aplenty, but her version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Blue Bayou’ is her most well-known. The 1963 version was only a minor hit for the original singer, but 14 years later, the female lead took this song to the Top 5 on three separate charts, including the Billboard country chart. It is considered her signature song.


Capitol Records
Capitol Records


‘I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)’

From ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ (1974)



The best country song of Linda Ronstadt’s career was originally a Hank Williams song. How fitting that the singer would turn to the original country star for her best moment. She’d long listed Williams (as well as other country greats) as an influence. Emmylou Harris joins Ronstadt to sing backing vocals on this song. They’d later make magic on the 1987 album ‘Trio.’


Next: See Linda Ronstadt’s Top 10 Rock Songs

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