What's New (Linda Ronstadt album)

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What's New
Studio album by Linda Ronstadt
Released September 1983
Recorded June 30, 1982 - March 4, 1983
The Complex, Los Angeles
Genre Jazz, Big Band, Traditional Pop Standards
Length 36:36
Label Asylum
Producer Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Get Closer
What's New
Lush Life

What's New is a Grammy-nominated, Triple Platinum-certified, 1983 jazz album by American singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. It represents the first in a trilogy of 1980s albums Ronstadt recorded with bandleader/arranger Nelson Riddle. John Kosh designed the album covers for all 3 albums.


The album spawned a major change in popular culture because Ronstadt was then considered the leading female vocalist in rock.[1][2][3] Both her record company and manager, Peter Asher, were very reluctant to produce this album with Ronstadt, but eventually her determination won them over and the albums exposed a whole new generation to the sounds of the pre-swing and swing eras.[4] The one-time popular music sung by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, and their contemporaries was relegated in the 1960s and 1970s to Las Vegas club acts and elevator music. Ronstadt later remarked that she did her part in rescuing these songs which she called "little jewels of artistic expression" from "spending the rest of their lives riding up and down on the elevators."[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau C-[7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[8]
Time 4.5/5 stars[9]

What's New was released in September 1983 and spent 81 weeks on the main Billboard album chart. It held the #3 position for five consecutive weeks while Michael Jackson's Thriller and Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down locked in the #1 and #2 album positions. The album also reached #2 on the Jazz albums chart. It was RIAA certified Triple Platinum for sales of over 3 million copies in the United States alone. The album also earned Linda yet another Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female alongside Donna Summer, Bonnie Tyler, Irene Cara and Sheena Easton, all of whom performed live on the 1984 Grammy telecast.

All tracks also included in the compilation "'Round Midnight", released on Asylum Records in 1986.

Stephen Holden of The New York Times noted the significance of the album to popular culture when he wrote that What's New "isn't the first album by a rock singer to pay tribute to the golden age of pop, but is ... the best and most serious attempt to rehabilitate an idea of pop that Beatlemania and the mass marketing of rock LP's for teen-agers undid in the mid-60's. In the decade prior to Beatlemania, most of the great band singers and crooners of the 40's and 50's codified a half-century of American pop standards on dozens of albums, many of them now long out-of-print."[10]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "What's New?" (Johnny Burke, Bob Haggart) - 3:55
  2. "I've Got a Crush on You" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) - 3:28
  3. "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne) - 4:13
  4. "Crazy He Calls Me" (Carl Sigman, Sidney Keith Russell) - 3:33
  5. "Someone to Watch Over Me" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) - 4:09
  6. "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" (Bing Crosby, Ned Washington, Victor Young) - 4:06
  7. "What'll I Do" (Irving Berlin) - 4:06
  8. "Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)" (Jimmy Davis, Jimmy Sherman, Roger "Ram" Ramirez) - 4:18
  9. "Goodbye" (Gordon Jenkins) - 4:47


Production notes:


  1. ^ "Rolling Stone". Rock's Venus. Retrieved May 4, 2007. 
  2. ^ "The Daily News". Work's out fine,best female voice in rock and roll. Retrieved May 4, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Time". The Linda Ronstadt Interview. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Jerry Jazz Musician". The Peter Levinson Interview. Retrieved May 4, 2007. 
  5. ^ "NPR". Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, April 28, 2007 · Music legend Linda Ronstadt plays a game called "They Said We Were Mad at the Academy! Mad I Tell You!" Three questions about strange, but real, patents in recent years. Retrieved May 28, 2007. 
  6. ^ Allmusic review
  7. ^ Robert Christgau review
  8. ^ Rolling Stone review
  9. ^ Time review
  10. ^ Scott, A. O. "The New York Times". LINDA RONSTADT CELEBRATES THE GOLDEN AGE OF POP, By Stephen Holden Published: September 4, 1983. Retrieved May 10, 2007.