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Linda Ronstadt: 1946—: Singer

Began Performing With Family

Ronstadt was born on July 14, 1946, in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with her sister and two brothers. Her father, who owned a large hardware store, was of Mexican and German descent, and her mother, a housewife, was of German, English, and Dutch descent. Her whole family was musically inclined. Her mother played the ukulele, and her father, who loved to sing his favorite Mexican songs, played the guitar. By the age of six, Ronstadt was singing harmony with her family.

As a child Ronstadt listened to her father's collection of Spanish-language albums, as well as to country and western, top 40, blues, and gospel. She first began performing as a teenager in local clubs and pizza parlors with her brother Pete and sister Suzie. She had a rebellious streak that did not serve her well during her years at Tucson's St. Peter and Paul Parochial School, where her attire was deemed too alluring and her talk of boys too direct. But by high school Ronstadt was focused on a future in music. After graduating from Catalina High School she enrolled in the University of Arizona, but lasted only a couple of months before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her musical career.

Ronstadt became romantically involved with Bob Kimmel, a Tucson native who occasionally played bass and guitar for Ronstadt and her siblings. Kimmel convinced Ronstadt to form a band with him in Los Angeles. In 1964 18-year-old Ronstadt agreed, and the two enlisted Kenny Edwards and formed the Stone Poneys. The band's entire—albeit short—history was a turbulent affair. Their first professional offer came from Mercury Records, which wanted to turn them into a surfer band called the Signets. The desired style was completely out of sync with their sound, which was much closer to the folksy Mamas and the Papas and Lovin' Spoonful, and the group rejected the offer.

At a Glance . . .

Born on July 14, 1946, in Tuscon, AZ; daughter of Gilbert and Ruthmary (Copeman) Ronstadt; two adopted children.

Career: Singer, 1964–.

Awards: American Music Awards, 1978; Grammy Awards, 1975, 1976, 1987 (with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton), 1988, 1989 (with Aaron Neville), 1990 (with Aaron Neville) 1992 (two awards), 1996; Academy of Country Music Award, 1987, 1988.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyLinda Ronstadt: 1946—: Singer Biography - Began Performing With Family, Abandoned By Group, Began Solo Career, Released Gold And Platinum Albums