Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt Lead All-Star Linda Ronstadt Tribute at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
An all-star group gathered on Thursday night to pay tribute to the ailing Linda Ronstadt, whose battle with Parkinson’s disease kept the singing legend from her own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Carrie Underwood performed in her place, helping to frame the legacy of a now-67-year-old star who had already won Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony awards over a career that’s spanned more than 30 albums.
Nicks took the lead on ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘When Will I Be Loved,’ songs originally made famous by Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, respectively. Both were given new life via Ronstadt’s ’70s-era country-rock interpretations. Underwood stepped forward for ‘Different Drum,’ the Mike Nesmith-composed title track to a 1974 Ronstadt album. All five sang harmony.
“Linda was really a rock star, but she was tinged with the country thing,” Nicks told Rolling Stone afterward. “And so she figured out a way to blend those things. So she was rockin’, and she hung out with the rockers, the rock bands. But she still had that little bit of country that went along with her.”
Ronstadt revealed in August of last year that Parkinson’s had forced her to retire. Glenn Frey, a member with several other future members of the Eagles in Ronstadt’s old backup band, gave her induction speech – then briefly joined in to sing back up on ‘It’s So Easy.’ Ronstadt was honored in this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class along with Kiss, who also did not perform; as well as Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates and Cat Stevens. Also recognized were the E Street Band, Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and Beatles manager Brian Epstein.