Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Linda Ronstadt, LIVING IN THE U.S.A.
41 years ago today, Linda Ronstadt released her ninth studio album, an LP which was so in-demand in advance of its release that it managed to go double platinum before it ever hit record stores shelves, the first time in music history that such a thing had ever occurred.
Produced by Peter Asher, as so many of Ronstadt’s classic albums were, LIVING IN THE USA took its title from the Chuck Berry song that Ronstadt covered as the lead-off track, but before we dig into the contents of the album, we should take a moment to discuss the cover. Here’s another true testament to just how successful this record was: it was directly responsible for an uptick in the number of people donning roller skates.
(In case you’re wondering, no, we cannot confirm that it was also responsible for Hollywood greenlighting the film SKATETOWN USA, but if it turns out that it was, we’re going to need to have words with Ms. Ronstadt.)
In addition to the aforementioned Berry song, Ronstadt also tackled tunes by Elvis Costello (“Alison”), Elvis Presley (“Love Me Tender”), Warren Zevon (“Mohammed’s Radio”), Smokey Robinson (“Ooh Baby Baby”), and the Gregory Carroll / Doris Payne classic “Just One Look,” which became a top-5 hit on the Billboard Easy Listening Singles chart. The album, however, was an even bigger smash, climbing straight to the top of the Billboard 200.