On April 10, Linda Ronstadt will be among the artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the institution's 29th annual induction ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It'll be taped for a special that will be broadcast on May 31 on HBO.
Unfortunately, due to her ongoing health concerns, Ronstadt won't be able to make the ceremony. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease back in December 2012, which makes it difficult for her to fly.
Still, she'll be inducted by Glenn Frey of the Eagles, who served as her backing back before they went on to their own success. Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, and Ronstadt collaborator Emmylou Harris will offer music tributes to her at the ceremony.
In honor of Ronstadt's induction, we — with some help for Peter Asher, who produced her best albums — came up with five reasons why she deserves to be in the Hall.
1. She's long overdue.
"She really doesn't mind," Asher says. "She's totally grown-up about awards and that sort of thing. Her reaction is, 'Thank you. That's very nice.' My reaction is, I always thought she should be in there. When certain people got in, before Linda, I was kind of outraged.
"I've been a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voter from the very beginning and I've been to all of [induction ceremonies], so my feeling is — right, being grown-up about them is important, but as long as there is such a thing as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Linda should bloody well be in it, and now she is," he adds. "All is well in the world. I'm very glad she's in."
2. She's got the goods and the smarts.
"She's got an extraordinary voice, an amazing sheer singing ability, an astonishing musical intelligence, and every other kind of intelligence. She's a breathtakingly smart, well-read, intelligent woman with strong musical views and musical imagination. Indeed, when first met her, she had a reputation of being kind of difficult, but she wasn't difficult at all. She had all kinds of ideas and nobody was paying attention, because back then you didn't. And to be honest, especially if it was an incredibly good-looking woman, you tended to assume what they had to say wasn't worth listening to. And that was so far from the case. She had all kinds of brilliant ideas."
3. The early hype surrounding her was all true.
Asher was aware of Ronstadt through the Stone Poneys and their 1967 Mike Nesmith-penned hit "Different Drum." Later an associate told him he had to catch her act live at a New York nightclub. "Somebody said, 'You have to go down to the Bitter End and see this girl singer. She's incredibly good. You'll blown away by her voice, she has a great band, and plus she sings barefoot in these really short shorts and she's ridiculously hot.' And it was all true. Every word of it. And of course the really good band she had eventually went out on their own and called themselves the Eagles."
4. She has so many good songs, it's hard to pick a favorite.
"It's so hard to pick one," Asher says. "I'm very proud of 'You're No Good.' When I hear that record on the radio on an oldies station, I still go, 'We did a good job on that.' And of course, I must thank [the late] Andrew Gold, who co-arranged that with me and played almost everything. He was a musical genius who is not really properly recognized."
5. She was never just a singing puppet.
"A lot of those things were completely Linda's ideas," Asher adds. "I was her idea to do the Nelson Riddle stuff [on 1983's 'What's New,' 1984's 'Lush Life,' and 1986's 'For Sentimental Reasons'], to do his American standards, which at the time was a really radical idea, and of course predates Rod Stewart and everybody else doing them. She was the first modern young singer to, as she put it, to take those tunes and rescue them from the elevator, where they were stuck and you only heard them as Muzak. And she did. I must confess, I didn't think that was a particularly good idea and didn't think people would buy it, but they did. They bought it by the millions."
"And she wanted to make a record of Mariachi Rancheras [1987's 'Canciones de Mi Padre'], so I went, 'OK.' I was proud and happy to do that, but I can't take credit for the ideas. Occasionally, I'd be asked questions that would indicate I was the Svengali telling her what to do. Not at all. She's a strong-minded woman who was usually right."