Linda Ronstadt is a legend. In an industry dominated by men, Ronstadt’s force in the music world has surpassed them all — and not just because of her powerful voice and songs but also her social justice advocacy. On Dec. 8, the 73-year-old award-winning artist was honored for putting her stamp in our musical landscape and culture at the 42nd annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. The special ceremony aired last night on CBS.
Country singer Carrie Underwood sang a medley of Ronstadt’s most beloved songs, including “Blue Bayou” and “When Will I Be Loved.” Underwood later tweeted, “I hope I made you proud, Linda.” Ronstadt was introduced by Don Henley of The Eagles. The Eagles first began their musical career as Ronstadt’s backing band in the early ’70s.
I was so honored to finally meet the phenomenal #LindaRonstadt, a true artist and versatile vocalist who excelled at performing all kinds of music. I hope I made you proud, Linda. 💕#KCHonors #BlueBayou #WhenWillIBeLoved #Inspired pic.twitter.com/hRhADMbsap
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) December 14, 2019
Henley said at the ceremony, according to CMT, that when he first heard Ronstadt sing, “it was like everything stopped.”
“Linda became one of the most popular, most respected female artists of the 20th century, holding her own in an industry that had been mostly run by men,” Henley said.
"Linda became one of the most popular, most respected female artists of the 20th century, holding her own in an industry that was mostly run by men."—#DonHenley on #LindaRonstadt #KCHonors pic.twitter.com/j1Z6mVigBF
— The Kennedy Center (@kencen) December 16, 2019
A day before the televised event, Ronstadt proved once again why she remains a vocal critic of corrupt political officials, in particular, the Trump Administration. At a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pompeo addressed the 200 guests by trying to be cheeky and said: “As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved,” which referred to Ronstadt’s 1975 country hit song.
When Ronstadt took the stage to speak at the event, she responded to Pompeo’s earlier remarks and said, “I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump,” she then sat back down.
Her surprising remarks were received on social media, with some of them reminding a new generation of Ronstadt fans that she has always been one to speak her mind whether people were ready to hear it or not.
Linda Rondstadt's been at this for a long time. Here she is on an Australian TV show back in 83 talking about Rupert Murdoch.
"Australia gave us Rupert Murdoch. Thanks a lot you guys. Take him back!" pic.twitter.com/Q4VVlEAwGz
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) December 8, 2019
While Ronstadt doesn’t perform anymore due to her Parkinson’s diagnosis, which she made public in 2012, she continues to remind us why she’s the advocate we need right now. Ronstadt, who has always celebrated her Mexican roots, continues to serve on the Advisory Board of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Mexican Heritage. Founded by Eugene Rodriguez, the organization helps to educate the community about Hispanic art, music, and culture.
Below is a video of our favorite Ronstadt song, what’s yours?