Simple Dreams

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Simple Dreams
Simple Dreams Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 6, 1977 (1977-09-06)
RecordedMay 23–July 22, 1977
StudioSound Factory (Hollywood)
GenreRock, Country Rock, Folk Rock
ProducerPeter Asher
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Greatest Hits
Simple Dreams
Living in the USA
Singles from Simple Dreams
  1. "Blue Bayou"
    Released: August 23, 1977
  2. "It's So Easy"
    Released: September 1977
  3. "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
    Released: January 1978
  4. "Tumbling Dice"
    Released: April 1978
  5. "I Never Will Marry"
    Released: April 1978

Simple Dreams is the eighth studio album by the American singer Linda Ronstadt, released in 1977 by Asylum Records. It includes several of her best-known songs, including her cover of the Rolling Stones song "Tumbling Dice" (featured in the film FM) and her version of the Roy Orbison song "Blue Bayou", which earned her a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. The album also contains covers of the Buddy Holly song "It's So Easy!" (a top-5 hit) and the Warren Zevon songs "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" (another top-40 hit) and "Carmelita". The album was the best-selling studio album of her career, and at the time was the second best-selling album by a female artist (behind only Carole King's Tapestry). It was her first album since Don't Cry Now without long-time musical collaborator Andrew Gold, though it features several of the other Laurel Canyon-based session musicians who appeared on her prior albums, including guitarists Dan Dugmore and Waddy Wachtel, bassist Kenny Edwards, and producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Asher.

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was originally released by Asylum in the LP format in September 1977 (catalogue number 104 or 6E-104). Later, in 1986, Asylum released the album in the Cassette format (TCS-104) and in the CD format (2-104). The album has never been out of print.

One of the most successful albums of Ronstadt's career, Simple Dreams spent five successive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard album chart in late 1977, displacing Fleetwood Mac's Rumours after it had held that position for a record-breaking 29 weeks. It also knocked Elvis Presley out of the number 1 position on the Billboard Country Albums chart after "The King" had held it for fifteen consecutive weeks following his death in August. Simple Dreams was Ronstadt's fifth consecutive million-selling platinum album and sold over 3½ million copies in less than a year in the United States alone—a record for a female artist. Among female recording artists at that time, only Carole King, with her album Tapestry, had sold more copies of one album.

The album was such a success that Ronstadt became the first female artist—and the first act overall since The Beatles—to have two singles in the top five at the same time: the Platinum-certified "Blue Bayou" (#3 Pop, #3 Adult Contemporary, and #2 Country) and "It's So Easy" (#5 Pop). "It's So Easy" was originally recorded by Buddy Holly and The Crickets in 1958 but had failed to chart in its original version. It was Ronstadt's second cover of a Holly song to become a hit in as many years; she had taken a rousing cover of "That'll Be the Day" to #11 Pop in 1976, using a similar arrangement.

The album includes songs by Warren Zevon, Eric Kaz, and J.D. Souther, as well as The Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice". Ronstadt was joined by Dolly Parton on the traditional ballad "I Never Will Marry", which became a Top 10 Country hit during the summer of 1978. (Ronstadt, Parton, and Emmylou Harris were also working on an ill-fated collaborative project around this same time, but nine years would pass before the release of their first Trio album.)

Ronstadt also recorded a Spanish-language version of "Blue Bayou" entitled "Lago Azul" only released as a single in 1978 (Asylum E-45464).[1] The album's 40th anniversary reissue in 2017, augmented by the addition of four live tracks, likewise omits this recording.

Originally, the cover photograph was to show Ronstadt dressed in a mini-slip and seated in front of multiple mirrors. Uncomfortable with the physical exposure, she changed into a robe, and the picture was made artificially grainy. A retouched photo from the original photo sessions was included on the inner sleeve of her platinum-plus album Greatest Hits, Volume 2, released in 1980. At the 20th Grammy Awards, John Kosh won the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for Simple Dreams.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB+[3]
Rolling Stone(average)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[5]
The Village VoiceB+[6]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote:

"In which Andrew Gold goes off and Pursues His Solo Career, enabling Ronstadt to hire herself a rock and roll band. She's still too predictable—imagine how terse and eloquent 'Blue Bayou' would seem if instead of turning up the volume midway through she just hit one high note at the end—but she's also a pop eclectic for our time, as comfortable with Mick Jagger as with Dolly Parton, interpreting Roy Orbison as easily as Buddy Holly. Even her portrayal of a junkie seeking succor from Warren Zevon's 'Carmelita; isn't totally ridiculous. And I admit it—she looks great in a Dodger jacket."[3]


"Blue Bayou" was nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy award in early 1978. It also earned Ronstadt a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female, alongside Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, and Debby Boone.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."It's So Easy"Buddy Holly, Norman Petty2:27
2."Carmelita"Warren Zevon3:07
3."Simple Man, Simple Dream"J.D. Souther3:12
4."Sorrow Lives Here"Eric Kaz2:57
5."I Never Will Marry"Traditional3:12
Side two
1."Blue Bayou"Roy Orbison, Joe Melson3:57
2."Poor Poor Pitiful Me"Warren Zevon3:42
3."Maybe I'm Right"Waddy Wachtel3:05
4."Tumbling Dice"Mick Jagger, Keith Richards3:05
5."Old Paint"Traditional3:05
Total length:31:49


  • Linda Ronstadt – lead vocals, backing vocals (1, 10), acoustic guitar (5, 10), arrangements (5, 10)
  • Dan Dugmore – acoustic guitar (1, 2, 7), steel guitar (3, 6), electric guitar (9)
  • Waddy Wachtel – electric guitar (1, 2, 7, 8, 9), backing vocals (1, 2, 9), acoustic guitar (2, 5, 6, 8), slide guitar solo (9)
  • Mike Auldridgedobro (5, 10)
  • Don Grolnickclavinet (1, 7), organ (2), electric piano (3, 6), acoustic piano (4, 9)
  • Kenny Edwards – bass guitar (1, 2, 3, 6-9), backing vocals (1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10), mandolin (6)
  • Rick Marotta – drums (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9), syndrums (2, 6, 7), shaker (3), cowbell (6)
  • Steve Forman – marimba (6)
  • Peter Asher – backing vocals (1, 8, 10), tambourine (7), maracas (7)
  • David Campbell – string arrangements (3), viola (3)
  • Dennis Karmazyn – cello (3)
  • Charles Veal – violin (3)
  • Richard Feves – double bass (3)
  • Dolly Parton – harmony vocals (5)
  • Don Henley – backing vocals (6)
  • Larry Hagler – backing vocals (7)
  • JD Souther – backing vocals (8)
  • Herb Pedersen – backing vocals (10)


  • Producer – Peter Asher
  • Recorded and Mixed by Val Garay
  • Recording and Mix Assistant – Mark Howlett
  • Mastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab (Hollywood, CA).
  • Art Direction and Design – Kosh
  • Photography – Jim Shea


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[23] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[24] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[25] Platinum 20,000*
Japan 42,540[11]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[26] Platinum 15,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Linda Ronstadt – Lago Azul (Blue Bayou) (1976, Vinyl)". Discogs.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Simple Dreams at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 701. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 31, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 258. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 28, No. 11". RPM. 1977-12-10. Archived from the original (PHP) on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  9. ^ " Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  10. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2012-04-04.Note: user must select 'Linda RONSTADT' from drop-down
  11. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  12. ^ " Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  13. ^ " Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  14. ^ "Linda Ronstadt : Artist: Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  15. ^ a b "Allmusic:Simple Dreams : Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 1977-12-31. Archived from the original on 2014-04-05. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  18. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1978". RPM. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  19. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Archived from the original (ASP) on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  20. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1978 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  21. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1978 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  22. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1978". Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  24. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Music Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  25. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1979". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  26. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  27. ^ "American album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-04-04.