So what do you do if you are a record label, the Christmas holidays are approaching, and one of your most commercially successful artists does not have a studio album ready? The simple answer is you release a Greatest Hits album and so it was for Linda Ronstadt during December of 1976. It turned out to be a very successful idea as it remains her biggest-selling album to date with seven million copies sold in The United States and over eighteen million worldwide.
I have no doubt as to the album's popularity and sales success as it is one of those records you can almost count on being available at any flea market, tag sale, and in most Goodwill stores.
In a perfect world Ronstadt would have waited one more album before releasing this compilation as her next studio album, Simple Dreams, would close out yet another phase of her career. The three albums which would then follow would take her in a different musical direction.
Greatest Hits is representative of her sound and evolution from 1967-1976. It includes her hit singles as well as much of her better material and that familiarity enabled her to greatly expand her fan base through this release. In 1976 if you wanted an overview of her career this was the album to have.
I am still amazed at the emotional depth and beauty of “Long Long Time” and “Love Has No Pride.” The soaring “When Will I Be Loved,” the rocking “You’re No Good,” and the up-tempo country of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” remain fresh today. When you add in the Motown covers of “Tracks Of My Tears” and “Heat Wave,” the old Buddy Holly classic “That’ll Be The Day,” and her eternal first hit with The Stone Poneys, “Different Drum,” you have one of the better compilation albums of the seventies.
This first Greatest Hits album by Linda Ronstadt has been superseded by any number of later compilations. However, it remains a fun and catchy release which contains some of her best material. So, if you ever stop at a flea market or tag sale and find a copy, it is well worth the $1.00 investment.