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Linda Ronstadt's Her paternal grandfather was Lloyd Groff Copeman, one of America's prominent prolific patent making inventors. He invented an early form of the toaster, many refrigerator devices, the grease gun, the first electric stove, and an early form of the microwave oven. His flexible rubber ice cube tray earned him millions of dollars in royalties.
Ronstadt began establishing her music career in the mid-1960s during California's emerging folk rock and country rock movements, genres which later defined post-60s rock music. Linda Ronstadt along with Bobby Kimmel and Kenny Edwards formed The Stone Poneys with Linda as the lead singer.
As a solo artist, she released Hand Sown ... Home Grown in 1969, which has been described as the first alternative country record by a female recording artist. Although fame eluded her during these years, Ronstadt actively toured with The Doors, Neil Young, Jackson Browne and others, made numerous television show appearances, and began to contribute her voice to a variety of albums.
However, with the successful release of chart-topping albums such as Heart Like A Wheel, Simple Dreams, and Living In The USA, coupled with the fact that Ronstadt became the first female "arena class" rock star, setting records as one of the top-grossing concert artists of the decade, Ronstadt became a celebrity and an illustrious star of the highest magnitude and the most successful female artist of her era.
She was voted the Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s. Her rock and roll image was equally as famous as her music, appearing six times on the cover of Rolling Stone, as well as Newsweek and Time magazine.
In the 1980s, Ronstadt went to Broadway, garnered a Tony nomination, teamed with composer Phillip Glass, recorded traditional music, and collaborated with famed conductor Nelson Riddle, an event at that time viewed as an original and unorthodox move for a rock and roll artist. The career move paid off, and Ronstadt remained one of the music industry's best-selling acts throughout the 1980s with multi-platinum selling albums such as: What's New, Canciones de Mi Padre and Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind.
Ronstadt has continued to successfully tour, collaborate, and record celebrated albums, such as Winter Light, and Hummin' to Myself.
As both a singer and record producer, she is considered one of music's most versatile and commercially successful female singers in U.S. history, she is recognized for her many public stages of self-reinvention and incarnations.
With a one time standing as the Queen of Rock where she was bestowed the title of "highest paid woman in rock," and known as the First Lady of Rock, she has more recently emerged as music matriarch, international arts advocate and Human Rights advocate.
Ronstadt has collaborated with artists from a diverse spectrum of genres – including Billy Eckstine, Frank Zappa, Rosemary Clooney, Flaco Jiménez, Philip Glass, The Chieftains, Gram Parsons, Dolly Parton and has lent her voice to over 120 albums around the world.
Christopher Loudon of Jazz Times noted in 2004, Ronstadt is "Blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation . . . rarest of rarities — a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive . . . It's an exceptional gift; one shared by few others."
In total, she has released over 30 solo albums, more than 15 compilations or greatest hits albums. Ronstadt has charted thirty-eight Billboard Hot 100 singles, twenty-one of which have reached the top 40, ten of which have reached the top 10, three peaking at No. 2, the No. 1 hit, "You're No Good."
In the UK, her single "Blue Bayou" reached the UK Top 40 and the duet with Aaron Neville, "Don't Know Much," peaked at #2 in December 1989. In addition, she has charted thirty-six albums, ten Top 10 albums, and three No. 1 albums on the Billboard Pop Album Charts.
In 1999, Ronstadt ranked #21 in VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. Three years later, she ranked #40 in CMT's 40 Greatest Women in Country Music."Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" included Heart Like A Wheel at #164 and The Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt at #324.
In May 2009, Ronstadt received an honorary doctorate of music degree from the Berklee College of Music for her achievements and influence in music, and her contributions to American and international culture.
MIX Magazine stated that "Linda Ronstadt (has) left her mark on more than the record business; her devotion to the craft of singing influenced many audio professionals.... (and is) intensely knowledgeable about the mechanics of singing and the cultural contexts of every genre she passes."
In 2004, Ronstadt wrote the Forward Introduction to the book titled The NPR Curious Listener's Guide To American folk music, and in 2005 she wrote the introduction to the book titled Classic Ferrington Guitars, about guitar-maker Danny Ferrington and his custom guitars that he created for Ronstadt and other musicians such as Elvis Costello, Ry Cooder, and Kurt Cobain.