Watch CBS News

Linda Ronstadt Not Silenced By Parkinson's Despite Losing Ability To Sing

LOS ANGELES ( — Despite losing her ability to sing to Parkinson's disease, multi-Grammy award winner Linda Ronstadt isn't being silenced by her condition.

In a telling interview with CBS2 Anchor Paul Magers, Ronstadt says she's resigned to her diagnosis and the fact that she won't sing again.

"I mean, what can you do? We're all gonna die. So, you have to say, 'Well, I had a good ride,' " she said.

She said if she were to try to sing today, "It wouldn't sound like anything. I can't get to the note. I can't make any quality sound. I can't arrange pitch."

When asked if it bothers her, she said: "If you would walk every day for your whole life since you were a little child and one day somebody cut your legs off, do you think it would bother you? Yeah, it bothers me. But there's nothing I can do about it."

But Ronstadt says she doesn't dwell on it, and although she's no longer able to share her singing voice, she makes up for it with stories of her musical journey and the legends she met along the way.

In 1967, "Different Drum" was her first hit with The Stone Poneys.

"By the time that I found out that it was going to be a hit, we were on our way down to Capitol Records to have a meeting. We had one car for the band," she said, adding that the car broke down on La Brea Avenue, leaving them stranded at a service station.

"And then all of a sudden I heard the intro to a 'Different Drum' and I knew the song was on KHJ and if it went on KHJ it was a hit! KHJ was the biggest station in L.A.," she said.

When the Stone Poneys parted ways, Ronstadt formed a new band with drummer Don Henley and guitarist Glenn Frey, who'd later form a band of their own — The Eagles.

Ronstadt even covered one of their most famous songs, "Desperado."

In 1977, Ronstadt hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with her signature hit, "Blue Bayou."

"I thought, 'I just have to sing that song or I'm going to die.' That's what I would think. 'I really want to sing that song or it's going to keep me up at night.' "

She was voted Top Female Pop Singer of the 1970s. She appeared six times on the covers of Rolling Stone and Time magazine.

"It didn't matter," said Ronstadt of her appearances. "The music was what counted."

Over five decades, Ronstadt released 31 albums, sold 100 million records and won countless awards, including 11 Grammys. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ronstadt, who now lives in the heart of San Francisco, has authored a musical memoir titled "Simple Dreams."

Click here for more information about her book.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.