Linda Ronstadt songs are some of the most-loved of the last several decades. The singer is often referred to as the first true female rock superstar, but she has also had a broad impact in country music.
Ronstadt's country career included many covers of prominent songs, but her versions are undeniable classics. She helped to pioneer the California-based country-rock sound that also introduced the world to the Eagles, a group that came together after the core members met while playing in Ronstadt's backing group.
The Boot's list of the Top 5 Linda Ronstadt Songs brings together the best of her country hits.
"That'll Be the Day"From: 'Hasten Down the Wind' (1976)
Ronstadt was instrumental in introducing a new generation to the classic works of some of music's most important pioneers. Her version of this Buddy Holly classic, from her second country album in a row, reached No. 27 on the Billboard country charts and helped its parent album win a Grammy.
"Silver Threads and Golden Needles"From: 'Don't Cry Now' (1973)
Ronstadt recorded "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" twice: once on her 1969 debut, Hand Sown ... Home Grown, and the second time for Don't Cry Now in 1973. The latter version became a pop-country crossover hit for the singer, peaking at No. 20 on the country charts -- the first of Ronstadt's hit country singles.
"When Will I Be Loved"From: 'Heart Like a Wheel' (1974)
This song is another example of Ronstadt's ability to make a cover version her own. Originally written and recorded by the Everly Brothers, "When Will I Be Loved" became Ronstadt's first No. 1 country hit. Its success helped drive the Heart Like a Wheel album to the top spot on both the pop and country charts as well.
"Blue Bayou"From: 'Simple Dreams' (1977)
Ronstadt's version of this Roy Orbison classic became her signature song. Her evocative, haunting vocals perfectly fit the track, which also features harmony vocals from Don Henley. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 2 in country and No. 3 in easy listening, and became the first of three gold singles for Ronstadt.
"I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)"From: 'Heart Like a Wheel' (1974)
Ronstadt took on the enormous task of covering a Hank Williams classic with this track, from her career-defining Heart Like a Wheel album. "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" was issued as the B-side of the album's first single, "You're No Good," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Featuring harmony vocals by Emmylou Harris, the song was a huge hit in its own right, reaching No. 2 on the country charts.