|Studio album by|
|Released||September 6, 1977|
|Recorded||May 23–July 22, 1977|
|Studio||The Sound Factory, Los Angeles, California|
|Genre||Rock, classic rock, country rock|
|Linda Ronstadt chronology|
|Singles from Simple Dreams|
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.
Release and promotion
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). "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. "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 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.)
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||B+|
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."
|1.||"It's So Easy"||Buddy Holly, Norman Petty||2:27|
|3.||"Simple Man, Simple Dream"||J.D. Souther||3:12|
|4.||"Sorrow Lives Here"||Eric Kaz||2:57|
|5.||"I Never Will Marry"||Traditional||3:12|
|1.||"Blue Bayou"||Roy Orbison, Joe Melson||3:57|
|2.||"Poor Poor Pitiful Me"||Warren Zevon||3:42|
|3.||"Maybe I'm Right"||Waddy Wachtel||3:05|
|4.||"Tumbling Dice"||Mick Jagger, Keith Richards||3:05|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- Linda Ronstadt - acoustic guitar on "I Never Will Marry", lead vocals, backing vocals (1,10) and arrangements (5,10)
- Waddy Wachtel - electric guitar (1,2,7,8) slide guitar solo (9) acoustic guitars (2,6,8) background vocals (1,2,9)
- David Campbell - string arrangements, viola on "Simple Man, Simple Dream"
- Kenny Edwards - bass guitar (1-3,6-9), mandolin (6), background vocals (1,2,6,7,9,10)
- Dan Dugmore - electric guitar (9), acoustic guitars (1,2) ,steel guitar (3,6)
- Rick Marotta - drums (1-3,6,7,9), syndrums (2,6,7), cowbell (6), shaker (3)
- Don Grolnick - piano (4,9) organ (2) electric piano (3,6) clavinet (1,7)
- Peter Asher - tambourine and maracas on "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", backing vocals (1,8,10)
- Dolly Parton - harmony vocals on "I Never Will Marry"
- Don Henley - co-lead and background vocals on "Blue Bayou"
- Larry Hagler – backing vocals on "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
- JD Souther - backing vocals on "Maybe I'm Right"
- Steve Forman - marimba on "Blue Bayou'
- Herb Pedersen - acoustic guitar and backing vocals on "Old Paint"
- Mike Auldridge - dobro on "I Never Will Marry" and "Old Paint
- Charles Veal - violin on "Simple Man, Simple Dream"
- Dennis Karmazyn - cello on "Simple Man, Simple Dream"
- Richard Feves - double bass on "Simple Man, Simple Dream"
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Simple Dreams at AllMusic
- 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 robertchristgau.com.
- Rolling Stone review
- Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 701. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Christgau, Robert (October 31, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 28, No. 11" (PHP). RPM. 1977-12-10. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "dutchcharts.nl Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2012-04-04.Note: user must select 'Linda RONSTADT' from drop-down
- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- "charts.org.nz Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "swedishcharts.com Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "Linda Ronstadt : Artist: Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Allmusic:Simple Dreams : Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 1977-12-31. Archived from the original on 2014-04-05. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1978". RPM. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Archived from the original (ASP) on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "Les Albums (CD) de 1978 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- "Top Pop Albums of 1978". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "Canadian album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Music Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "American album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-04-04. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.