Friday, September 21, 2012

"How Do I Make You" by Linda Ronstadt

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  038
Date:  02/02/1980
Debut:  68
Peak:  10
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Anointed "Queen of Rock" in the 70s, Ronstadt started out the 80s with a bang. Her album "Mad Love" took a different direction with a focus on new wave rock. The album featured three Elvis Costello songs and three Cretone's covers. The different sound met with approval from record buyers and it continued her streak of platinum albums, this being the sixth. This initial single became her seventh Top 10 hit. However, this would not be the only change Ronstadt would make in the 80s as it would be a decade full of different directions and odd projects.

ReduxReview:  Ronstadt is one of our great pop vocalists. However, moving into this harder-edged rock territory was not a great fit. Pat Benatar owned this area at the time and Ronstadt falls short in comparison. It just sounds forced, as it does on this song. I think Benatar would have ripped it to shreds. It's not awful by any means and I've always liked the song, but I just don't think this type of material served Ronstadt's voice very well. (Side note:  Ronstadt was nominated for a Best Rock Vocal Grammy for this song alongside Pat Benatar for "Crimes of Passion." Benatar won.)

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  A solid chunk of Ronstadt's singles and album tracks were remakes. This one is no exception, but the origins are more obscure. Penned by Billy Steinberg, the song appeared on his band Billy Thermal's debut EP. Ronstadt heard the EP and recorded this version. It was Steinberg's first big hit as a writer. He would have many more when he collaborated with Tom Kelly. Together they wrote a plethora of hits that included "Like a Virgin," "True Colors," "So Emotional," "Eternal Flame, "I Drove All Night," and the infamous "I Touch Myself."



  1. Wow. Yet another song that I never heard, was a Top 10, and I dig. Thanks! - M

  2. Chart Run: 68 - 35 - 23 - 20 - 18 - 16 - 11 - 10 - 10 - 10 - 17 - 18 - 30 - 48 - 75 - 99