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But she'd not shedding any tears over being forced to skip her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this Thursday night in Brooklyn, a event she swears she could care less about.
A.’s Stone Poneys, Linda Ronstadt has been as famous for fiercely guarding her private life as she has for the robust and glorious soprano that made her one of the supreme song interpreters of her generation.
The winner of 11 Grammys during a 40-year career that produced more than 30 albums, Ronstadt recorded her final CD (Adieu, False Heart, with Cajun musician Ann Savoy) in 2006. 7, 2009 — she gave what she calls her last concert at the Brady Memorial Auditorium in San Antonio.
After that, Ronstadt simply declined all invitations to do more.
In late 2012, when a friend asked her to sing on a tribute album to Jackson Browne, a close friend from her L. days, she wrote in an email: “I have a serious case of being 66 years old and am completely retired from singing.
Of course, one is always pleased to be asked, so tell them I said thank you.” What old friends and fans did not know is that for the past seven or eight years, Ronstadt had suffered from symptoms that suggested Parkinson’s disease.
There are other things to try besides [the drug] L-DOPA, which I’ll go on only when I’m circling the drain.
[Laughs] I’m so sensitive to drugs you have to talk me into taking aspirin. Q: Is he still as tight with a dollar as you paint him in the book?
Yet in an interview with AARP in advance of her coming memoir, Simple Dreams (Simon & Schuster, Sept.
17), Ronstadt opens up about the life-altering news she did not put in the book — she has Parkinson’s disease — and its tragic side effect: “I can’t sing a note.” Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter — and get movie reviews, great games and more delivered to you every month Though her book mentions that her voice began to change at age 50, Ronstadt, now 67, had never offered a solid explanation for her 2009 retirement (the book does cryptically mention a time when she had a “still-healthy voice”).
Q: You talk in the book about your love for animals and your pet, Luna the cow. Yeah, I loved her — she was such a nice old girl — but I got a tick from her, and that’s probably why I’m sick. A: Well, I had two very bad tick bites in the ’80s, and my health has never recovered since then. They’re saying now they think there’s a relationship between tick bites and Parkinson’s disease — that a virus can switch on a gene, or cause neurodegeneration. In fact I couldn’t sing for the last five or six years I appeared on stage, but I kept trying. [Laughs] Maybe I’d be able to sing better then.” So I didn’t know why I couldn’t sing — all I knew was that it was muscular, or mechanical. A: About eight months ago — just when I was writing the acknowledgments for the book, actually.
I kept thinking, “What if I tried singing upside down? Then, when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was finally given the reason. I got the initial diagnosis, but they didn’t confirm it until six months later.
I’ve always known Brian to be a gentle, lovely person with an incredible amount of talent. I traveled all over the world happily and never complained, but when your health is the way mine is right now, I travel like a crate of eggs without the crate.