In a rare interview, legendary singer Linda Ronstadt opened up about the Parkinson’s Disease that has stolen her voice and how it has changed her life.
Ronstadt, who went public with her diagnosis of Parkinson’s and its effect on her voice in an August, 2013 AARP interview, sat down with CBS San Francisco last week to update her millions of fans on her battle with the disease.
“Life is very different,” she said. “It’s hard to wash my hair, brush my teeth, and put my clothes on. It’s hard to get up and out of a chair.”
Ronstadt laughed about her start in the music business after moving from Tucson to Southern California in the late ’60s.
“I thought I was pretty good in Tucson. I got to L.A., and found out I was nothing. You know, lower than an earthworm,” she said.
It didn’t take her long to get noticed, though, and her 1967 hit, “Different Drum,” with the Stone Poneys launched a career that spanned over 40 years, in which she sold more than 100 million records, earning 11 Grammys in genres as diverse as rock, country, and mariachi. Her Spanish-language recording of “Canciones de mi Padre” became the top-selling foreign language album in American record history.
Ronstadt also contributed her vocal talents to several collaborations — with Aaron Nevelle on “Don’t Know Much,” and later in her career, with country superstars Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on two Trio albums, which were released to critical acclaim.
The multi-octave voice that produced the hauntingly beautiful “Blue Bayou” has been silenced now, a victim to the Parkinson’s Disease that has so changed her life. Ronstadt told CBS that when she tries to sing now, she sounds like a “barking dog.”
“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. I might aim for a note and hit another one. It sounds like shouting,” she said.
Ronstadt, who never married, also discussed her highly-publicized romance with California Governor Jerry Brown.
“It was great fun we had a great time and he’s doing such a good job now as governor,” she said. “And we’re still friends.”
Her angelic voice may be silenced, but Ronstadt still has her share of fans, including one pretty famous one. The Inquisitr reported that during a presentation of the National Medal of Arts at the White House in July, President Obama revealed to the 68-year-old singer that he had a little crush on her “back in the day.”
See the full interview with Ronstadt below.
[Image via YouTube]