Linda Ronstadt: Simple Dreams 1977
Over the course of her 40-year singing career, Linda Ronstadt’s albums landed on the charts dozens of times, but 1977’s Simple Dreams took the number one spot for five consecutive weeks and became her must successful record, surpassing her previous hit album, Heart Like A Wheel. The record included RIAA platinum-certified single “Blue Bayou,” a country rock interpretation of a Roy Orbison song; “It’s So Easy,” which was originally covered by Buddy Holly; and Warren Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” And then it got nominated for all these Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance/Female for “Blue Bayou,” and won its art director, Kosh, a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover.
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.