Linda Ronstadt recorded the song... and her version was the best (Poll)

Most of Linda Ronstadt’s biggest hits were covers.
Now, I’m a Linda Ronstadt fan and her recordings were generally done with tasteful arrangements, were well produced, and, well, they feature Linda Ronstadt’s voice which is always welcome.

Still, she certainly didn’t shy away from covering songs by legitimate icons. She could have picked songs by lesser known artists and/or songs with decent songwriting that nevertheless were botched by bad studio choices made by the original artists or producers. In such cases she could easily have made the songs her own in such a way that the Linda Ronstadt version would undeniably be the definitive version.

As her catalogue filled out, however, I think only the most fanatical Ronstadt lover would claim that her versions were always the best.

I’m making a poll of 10 songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt as covers.
The poll allows for multiple choice. For which songs would you say that Linda Ronstadt’s version was the best version.

Feel free to mention your opinion on songs not included in the poll.

I’m a big fan of Linda, but I like Buddy Holly better on That’ll Be The Day, Roy Orbison on Blue Bayou and the Eagles on Desperado. Loved her in *The Pirates of Penzance, * too.

OP, here.

Voted for “Blue Bayou” (and I say that as a huge Roy Orbison fan), “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, “Desperado”, and “Just One Look”.

You forgot Different Drum.

Interesting topic - she is/was wonderful as a singer, but lived off covers, or at least had her career managed that way.

I like her version You’re No Good. I like most of those listed, but tend to prefer the originals except for that one.

Her version of Carmelita shits all over Warren Zevon’s original from a great height.

My favorite cover of hers is *Someone To Watch Over Me *with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. My second choice is Blue Bayou.

I like her Rianxeira recorded with Los Lobos and Chieftains, but for some reason they called it “Guadalupe” and English-language sites will often call it “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and identify it as a ranchera :confused: (the Chieftains themselves do not make this second mistake in the record in which it’s included). Rianxeira is a woman from Rianxo, and/or one who works in the rías or fjords of Galicia picking up shellfish, the song is traditional from Galicia and the original lyrics are in Galego. I’ve found a site in Spanish which identifies the song as written in Argentina in 1947; the first lyrics are the ones I’m familiar with and the ones used by Rondstadt & Co.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
walking along the shore
barefoot on the sand
resembles a shellfish-picker…

Michael Nesmith’s “Different Drum” was first recorded by The Greenbriar Boys whose recording went practically unnoticed. Ronstadt’s version with The Stone Poneys was the first recorded version to be a hit. When Nesmith recorded his own version he didn’t even release it as a single.

So, I omitted it by choice rather than forgot about it.
It doesn’t really fit in the discussion as framed- focusing on covers of previous hits- certainly not in a poll limited to 10 choices.

Ok, I’ll go along with that. But it was definitely the best version.

Yes! I listened to that album every day for almost a year. There are other songs that I would include from that album and her other Riddle albums, including *I’ve Got A Crush On You *and Skylark, but Someone To Watch Over Me is definitely at the top of the list.

As does her cover of Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” Much prefer Warren!

On just about every song listed I heard Linda Ronstadt’s rendition first, so they have kind of become the definitive versions for me. If I take the time to imagine the original in my mind’s eye (ear) I think I still find her’s the better one, with the exception of Desperado and Poor Poor Pitiful Me.

I didn’t see Heatwave on your list.

For poll purposes, I picked “When Will I Be Loved”.

For additional trivia, I would list her version of “Perfidia” (from the Mambo Kings soundtrack) over any previous…let’s say, Glenn Miller’s.

It seems to me that you did not name the artists that performed some of these songs.

I feel as if I need to know who else performed a song so that I can compare their version to Linda’s.

The one thing I can add to this thread is that I have met a surprising number of people (actually, all of them are men) who are just crazy for Linda. They love her with a passion that can best be described as “unbridled” (possibly because I’m just not sufficiently literate to know of any better adjectives). But they love, love, love Linda - both as a singer and also as a sexy woman. I should say that I met most of these men during the 70s and hardly at all during any other decade. Still, this always made a deep impression on me.

I have nothing bad to say about Linda’s singing or about her sex appeal. But I never understood how or why so many men just seem to live and die for Linda Ronstadt. It must be wonderful to be so loved.

Can anyone shed any light on this? What is it about Linda that caused so many men to seemingly just go crazy for her?

I really enjoy her version of “Down So Low,” though I’m not very familiar with Mother Earth’s. Cyndi Lauper did a good cover version, but I prefer Linda’s.

I’d say in part due to this . I’m not a guy so I may be way off base, but I seem to recall she was quite the sex symbol back in the day. That, and of course her tremendous voice. Fwiw, I grew up in the 70s / 80s and I don’t recall my contemporaries raving about her at the time. It feels more to me like men look back at how they remember feeling about her then (if that makes sense).


On the poll, I picked “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” (Buddy Holly)

My own entries would be:

“I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You” (Hank Williams)
“Keep Me From Blowing Away” (The Seldom Scene)
“Don’t Stop” (Brian Wilson)

I would add “Love is a Rose” and “Willin’.”