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!
Linda Ronstadt, Simple Dreams (Asylum LP 6E-104, 1977 - reissued Rhino, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada TBD)
- 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
That's it? That's "expanded"? Please. There's a Spanish version of "Blue Bayou" plus outtakes from the sessions... This is just lazy and lame.
Julia Urban Kimmerley says
Totally in agreement. That was my first thought too...Oh well, I will be happy to hear this masterpiece of an album "re-mastered"... 🙂 ♡
Robert Lett says
Rhino used to be everything to music buffs but has really gone downhill.
Denny Patrick says
Perhaps by "expanded" they mean the packaging will be thicker than a traditional CD.
Randall Anthony says
What we need is a wholesale upgrade of her Elektra entire catalog - never remastered since its plain-vanilla reissue in the early days of the compact disc. Any word on that?
HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hasten Down The Wind ????????
Indeed her finest release. We do have the 2009 MoFi Ultradisc remaster of Hasten, you know.
Why not contemporary live tracks rather than later ones? I will stick with my existing copy and ignore this one.
Mark B. Hanson says
One of the hazards of reissues by living artists is that they tend to keep tight control over release of outtakes and such.
Why not a second disc of the entire concert?
I compare this to Bette Midler's "Divine Miss M" reissue, which was still rather sparse, and think Ronstadt is giving us pretty poor value.
Mr. Hanson, Ronstadt is not in good health
He didn't say she was. Just that she's still living. She could still be making decisions/having input over this reissue. Either way, that's a really paltry "expanded" edition.
I agree Mark. Handing the project over to Peter Asher to remaster and expand would have been a better idea. He could have made it something really worthwhile.
Mark B. Hanson says
Of course, this could also be the "Fleetwood Mac" model - give us a few new tracks now, then 5 years down the road, re-do with more bonus tracks, and so forth. Worked for them with Rumours...
WOW very exciting, but yes sparse...this only gives me hope that when Mad Love finally gets a much needed reissue (pleeeeease) that it will include the audio from the HBO show and the DVD?!!!! I saw this tour at the Forum in L.A. and it was a wonderful show...have copies of this show on DVD and CD but nothing official...willing to wait and hope for more?!!!! Mad Lover 4 Ever!!!!
Robert Lett says
They (Rhino) did similar with the Bonnie Raitt catalog a few years ago. No bonus tracks at all. Didn't buy that and won't buy this. What a wasted opportunity.
Linda's legions would crawl on broken glass for some rarities and quality live releases. Doubtful that Ronstadt gives a damn. Asher is providing new liner notes on the reissue. None the less, while Hasten Down the Wind remains many devotees favorite, Simple Dreams -if you know how to listen to Ronstadt - remains a vocal masterpiece. Authentic Power, pure tenderness(often in the same tune)off beat(Carmelita, Old Paint), highly commercial(It's So Easy, Blue Bayou) and while it certified her superstardom (5th platinum in a row) it opened the flood gates for her detractors. The hacks would say "It's her band, it's her producers, it's her adorable looks that made her great". She remains a most intriguing figure of the era but in the end - just listen - that voice was rare and remarkable. Can't please everyone.
FWIW: The remastering on her Spanish-language albums was done very well. Slightly louder, and still very dynamic.
Poor Poor Pitiful Me and Tumbling Dice have already been out there on CD for years ---the FM Soundtrack.
Expanded by Rhino seems to mean expanded in price.