Linda Ronstadt becomes the first repeat headliner in this series today as she turns 71. An eleven-time Grammy winner and one of the must successful solo female vocalists ever, she began her career when she dropped out of Arizona State University and joined an old Arizona acquaintance in Los Angeles, becoming the lead singer of a folk-rock trio, the Stone Poneys. They had a Top 20 single with “Different Drum” before breaking up, at which point Ronstadt embarked on a solo career.
Ronstadt’s second studio album, Silk Purse, came out in 1970 and included the hit “Long, Long Time,” which brought her her first Grammy nomination. However, it was with her fifth album, Heart Like a Wheel from 1974, that her career really took off. She had six straight albums reach #4 or higher on the Billboard 200 and eight Top Ten singles in a stretch of about 6 years, and was widely recognized as the leading female rock star of her time and the first “arena class” female rocker.