Heart Like a Wheel

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Heart Like a Wheel
Heart Like a Wheel Ronstadt.jpg
Studio album by Linda Ronstadt
Released November 1974
Recorded June–September 1974
Genre Rock, country rock
Length 32:19
Label Capitol
Producer Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Don't Cry Now
Heart Like a Wheel
Prisoner in Disguise
Singles from Heart Like a Wheel
  1. "You're No Good"
    Released: November 19, 1974
  2. "When Will I Be Loved"
    Released: April 1975

Heart Like a Wheel is Linda Ronstadt's Grammy Award-winning fifth solo album recording and the last of her studio projects for Capitol Records, released in late 1974. The title is of a song—included on the album—written by Anna McGarrigle.


Owing Capitol one more album on her contract, Ronstadt brought in producer Peter Asher, who had worked on her previous album Don't Cry Now, and multi-instrumentalist and arranger Andrew Gold. The collaborative efforts of Asher and Gold have been credited over the years as contributing significantly to the album's artistic success. Several tracks have string arrangements by Gregory Rose.

The result, a more refined and streamlined mix of country and rock than her previous releases, proved to be Ronstadt's commercial breakthrough. Critics later said the album, with less of a folk influence, standardized the musical formula for her subsequent albums in the 1970s. Released in late 1974, Heart Like a Wheel became the first of her three number 1 peaks on the Billboard album chart starting February 15, 1975, alongside the number 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, "You're No Good." Ronstadt was featured for the first of six times on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in its March 27, 1975, issue. The B-side of the single for "You're No Good", a cover of Hank Williams's "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)," peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.[1]

Although her major successes were in the pop/rock field, Ronstadt also had great success in the country music field. Heart Like A Wheel spent four weeks at number 1 on Billboards Country Albums chart in early 1975. The follow-up single release, a rockified version of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," spent two weeks at number 2 on the Hot 100 in June 1975 and reached number 1 on the Cash Box Pop singles chart. It also became Ronstadt's first number 1 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. The B-side of "When Will I Be Loved," a melancholy version of a Buddy Holly & the Crickets song, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore", subsequently climbed the Pop, Adult Contemporary and Country charts.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A-[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[5]

Heart Like a Wheel was well regarded from its initial release. Stephen Holden in his review for Rolling Stone found her voice on the album "totally, irresistibly sexy."[6] And later marking it as a classic, Allmusic wrote that "it stands as a landmark of '70s mainstream pop/rock."[3]

Heart Like a Wheel spent 51 weeks on the album chart.[7] Based on her performance on the singles and album charts, Billboard magazine named Ronstadt the top female pop artist of the year. The album was certified Gold in January 1975 by the Recording Industry Association of America and belatedly both Platinum and Double Platinum in 1991.

Ronstadt won her first of a record 11 Grammy Awards in early 1976 for Best Country Vocal Performance Female for "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)." She was also nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female (losing to Janis Ian for "At Seventeen"), and the album was nominated for Album Of The Year (losing to Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years).

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Heart Like a Wheel at number 164 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[8] It was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress on April 2, 2014 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "You're No Good"   Clint Ballard, Jr. 3:44
2. "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"   Paul Anka 3:26
3. "Faithless Love"   J. D. Souther 3:15
4. "The Dark End of the Street"   Chips Moman, Dan Penn 3:55
5. "Heart Like a Wheel"   Anna McGarrigle 3:10
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "When Will I Be Loved"   Phil Everly 2:04
2. "Willin'"   Lowell George 3:02
3. "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)"   Hank Williams 2:45
4. "Keep Me from Blowing Away"   Paul Craft 3:10
5. "You Can Close Your Eyes"   James Taylor 3:09


Production notes:

  • Peter Asher – producer
  • Gregory Rose – conductor, string arrangements
  • George Massenburg – engineer
  • Peter Kelsey – engineer
  • Peter Swettenham – engineer
  • John Haeny – engineer
  • David Hassinger – engineer, mixing
  • Val Garay – engineer, mixing
  • Dennis Ferrante – engineer
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering
  • Rod Dyer – design
  • Leandro Correa – photography
  • Eve Babitz – photography

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1975 Billboard 200 1[9]


Year Label Edition
2009 Audio Fidelity 24 Karat Gold HDCD


  1. ^ "Country Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  2. ^ Linda Ronstadt > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2006.
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Heart Like a Wheel at AllMusic. Retrieved 3 December 2005.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Linda Ronstadt > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 16 April 2006. 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Linda Ronstadt". The Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 701–702. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Holden, Stephen (January 16, 1975). "Linda Ronstadt Heart Like a Wheel > Album Review". Rolling Stone (178). Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2006. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (April 1, 2007). Joel Whitburn presents The Billboard Albums (6th ed.). ISBN 978-0-89820-166-6.  Cited in "Linda Ronstadt Top Pop Albums". http://www.ronstadt-linda.com. Retrieved 28 July 2006.  External link in |work= (help)
  8. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "164 | Heart Like a Wheel - Linda Ronstadt". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 11 February 2005. 
  9. ^ Heart Like a Wheel - Linda Ronstadt > Charts & Awards > Billboard Album at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 March 2008.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Fire by Ohio Players
Billboard 200 number-one album
February 15–21, 1975
Succeeded by
AWB by Average White Band