Trivia: What album replaced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on top of the Billboard Album Chart after its 29-week stay? The answer: Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams. Ronstadt’s eighth studio album, it became one of her most successful and most beloved. Now, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Grammy Award-winning Simple Dreams is receiving an expanded edition from Rhino Records. It’s due on CD, vinyl LP, DD, and streaming platforms on September 22.
The multi-platinum smash was Ronstadt’s fifth consecutive release to cross the one-million sales threshold in the United States, also reaching the chart zenith in Canada and Australia (not to mention the top 20 in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and New Zealand). In addition to displacing Rumours, it also displaced Elvis Presley from the top of the Country Albums chart, a true display of its cross-genre appeal. Produced by Peter Asher, the album’s formula was simple: apply one of the greatest and most distinctive voices of a generation to some of its greatest songs.
Two of those classic songs – Roy Orbison and Joe Melson’s “Blue Bayou” and Buddy Holly and Norman Petty’s “It’s So Easy” – both took a place within the U.S. top five, making Ronstadt the first artist since The Beatles to hold two spots within the top five at the same time. A third hit, Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” also emerged from the LP, barely missing the top 30 at No. 31. Zevon’s “Carmelita” was also featured on the album alongside songs by The Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”), J.D. Souther (“Simple Man, Simple Dream”) and Eric Kaz (“Sorrow Lives Here”). Dolly Parton joined her future Trio cohort for the traditional song “I Never Will Marry,” and the duo took it to the top ten of the Country chart.
Ronstadt was joined on the album by an all-star cast of musicians and guest background vocalists including Eagles Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, Andrew Gold, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Chris Ethridge, J.D. Souther, Spooner Oldham, Nino Tempo, David Lindley, Danny Kortchmar, and Waddy Wachtel.
The newly remastered Simple Dreams will include three bonus tracks, all derived from a concert which aired on HBO in 1980. These live versions of the album’s three big hits – “It’s So Easy,” “Blue Bayou,” and “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” – are all previously unreleased in standalone audio format. On the vinyl version, these three bonus tracks will be included on a special 7-inch EP. You can pre-order the expanded 40th anniversary edition of Simple Dreams at the links below; it’s due on September 22 from Rhino!
- It’s So Easy
- Simple Man, Simple Dream
- Sorrow Lives Here
- I Never Will Marry
- Blue Bayou
- Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
- Maybe I’m Right
- Tumbling Dice
- Old Paint
- It’s So Easy (Live)
- Blue Bayou (Live)
- Poor, Poor Pitiful Me (Live)
Tracks 11-13 previously unreleased