Latin Music USA

S1 E7 | CLIP

The Legends: Linda Ronstadt

Despite a successful career spanning multiple decades, Linda Ronstadt still encountered resistance from the music industry when she decided to make a Spanish language album. Watch LATIN MUSIC USA Friday, April 28 and Friday, May 5 at 9/8C on PBS (check local listings).

AIRED: October 19, 2009 | 0:03:19

("Los Laureles" plays)

SMITS: Linda Ronstadt, the best-selling

female rocker of the 1970s,

also confounded the pop music establishment,

recording an all-Spanish language album.

♪ Ay... que laureles tan verdes ♪

She's a Tucson girl and she's a Mexican-American girl,

but we don't know that through her successes

in her early recordings.

♪ You're no good, you're no good ♪

♪ You're no good, baby, you're no good ♪

♪ I'm gonna say it again

LINDA RONSTADT: When I left home, I was 17.

And I was kind of hoping that the musicians

that I'd met over in LA, that I was gonna form

a little band with, The Stone Ponies, that they would,

we could maybe make a record in Spanish.

Because after all, Ritchie Valens

had had a hit with "La Bamba."

But the record company didn't like that idea.

My father's side of the family,

when they got together, they sang in Spanish.

Someone would start a song somewhere.

Someone would have a guitar and start to plunk out a few chords.

And the songs would start and they were these

beautiful, beautiful old songs.

♪ Tierra del sol

♪ Suspiro por verte

♪ Y ahora que lejos yo vivo sin luz, sin amor ♪

♪ Y al verme tan sola y triste ♪

♪ Cual hoja al viento quisiera llorar ♪

♪ Quisiera morir de sentimiento. ♪

♪ Shut the light

♪ Shut the shade

SMITS: After 20 years as a pop star,

Ronstadt had enough clout in the industry

to fulfill her dream:

A Spanish-language album based on songs from her childhood.

RONSTADT: "Who was going to buy this record?"

is what the record company said to me.

"I don't know," I said.

I just couldn't hear that.

The music was screaming in my ears, and that was that.

♪ Tierra del sol...

♪ Suspiro por verte

RONSTADT: I had to go back and find that little girl

that was falling asleep in the uncle and aunts' laps

hearing that mixture of Spanish and English.

'Cause that's really who I was first

before I became a pop star, whatever that,

all that craziness that went on in the '70s, you know,

in the '60s and the '80s. It was just nutty.

♪ Quisiera...

♪ Llorar...

Making that record just helped cement

my personality back together again.

♪ De sentimiento...

Ronstadt's 1987 release, Canciones de Mi Padre--

"Songs of My Father," became the best-selling

non-English language album to date in U.S. history.


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