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Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt in 2013 (photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)

Linda Ronstadt in 2013 (photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)


For more than 40 years Linda Ronstadt enjoyed an astonishingly wide-ranging musical career—evolving from country and rock songs to the American popular songbook, traditional Mexican tunes, even opera. Every step of the way she had to defy the conventional wisdom that she was bound to fail.

Yet not only were her albums consistent best sellers, she collected 11 Grammy awards, a Tony, and an Emmy and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The only thing that could stop her was Parkinson's Disease, which robbed her of her gorgeous voice and forced her into retirement from singing in 2010.

She has since channeled her creativity into a critically-praised memoir, Simple Dreams, and occasional stage appearances where she does an audio-video presentation. At one such event last November at the Tilles Center on Long Island I was honored to do an onstage Q&A with Linda. We spoke about her diverse musical interests, her favorite songwriters, and her life with Parkinson's. She may have lost her singing voice, but not her grace or humor. I'm very pleased to present an edited version of that conversation here.