|Studio album by|
|Released||September 6, 1977|
|Recorded||May 23–July 22, 1977|
|Studio||Sound Factory (Hollywood)|
|Linda Ronstadt chronology|
|Singles from Simple Dreams|
Simple Dreams is the eighth studio album by the American rock 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
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 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). 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.
|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."
"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.
|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|
|Australia (ARIA)||4× Platinum||280,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Platinum||20,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
- 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 Auldridge – dobro (5, 10)
- Don Grolnick – clavinet (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
- "Linda Ronstadt – Lago Azul (Blue Bayou) (1976, Vinyl)". Discogs.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Simple Dreams at AllMusic
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- 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 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 258. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
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- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Archived from the original (ASP) on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
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- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- "Canadian album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Music Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1979". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
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- "American album certifications – Linda Ronstadt – Simple Dreams". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-04-04.