Linda Ronstadt slams Secretary of State at Kennedy Center Honors


Linda Ronstadt had some strong words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the Kennedy Center Honors State Department dinner on Saturday (Dec. 7).

When introducing her to the audience, Pompeo congratulated the singer-songwriter and joked aloud when he would be loved, a reference to Ronstadt’s hit “When Will I Be Loved.” In response, the 73-year-old singer told Pompeo, “Maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump.”

The awkward exchange was tweeted about by Sam Greisman, the son of Oscar-winning actress and fellow Kennedy Center Honors recipient Sally Field. “Linda Ronstadt got up to get laurels, looked the f—er right in the eye and said ‘maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump.’ Icon,” he wrote.

The Sound of My Voice, a documentary exploring the life and career of retired super-star singer Linda Ronstadt.

Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris praise Hall of Fame singer in The Sound of My Voice“ Linda is such a perfectionist, she’s a pain in the ass sometimes,” Dolly Parton quips in the trailer. Later on, a visibly emotional Emmylou Harris says, “There will never be another voice like Linda’s.”

Linda Ronstadt, after all, is a singer whose career was defined by restlessness and genre-hopping; a rock ‘n’ roll sex symbol whose upper lip alone launched thousands of crushes but who was always far smarter than even her fans gave her credit for being; a perfectionist who knew what she wanted but had trouble believing she was good enough to give it; and a private woman in a public game.

She wasn’t easily summed up when she first came to Los Angeles more than five decades also, and she isn’t easily summed up now. the fact that she has Parkinson’s disease, which has prevented her from singing in public since 2009 – is dealt with quietly, with a minimum of drama. (

The 72-year-old singer performed her final concert in 2009, several years after suffering the first symptoms of the incurable illness. Last year, she began to appear at spoken-word events, talking about her career and how her lifestyle has changed in the past decade.

“You have to have a life, but I have to be very selective about what I do,” Ronstadt told the San Francisco Chronicle in a new interview, noting that she was phasing out the medication she’d been given because of its side effects.

She plans to showcase that charm again this fall in three Northern California appearances — Sept. 15 at Dominican University of California, San Rafael; Sept. 21 at Folsom Lake College in Sacramento County; and Sept. 29 at Mountain Winery in Saratoga. My records were selling so well that instead of playing in intimate spaces like the Troubadour, I was being booked into hockey arenas and outdoor pavilions with huge audiences. The sound in those enormous places was kind of like being in a flushing toilet with the lid down …”

“I knew it was something systemic,” she said of losing her singing abilities. “I knew it wasn’t age. Doctors looked at my larynx and said it was in perfect condition, that I had a teenage larynx.” Ronstadt wasn’t diagnosed until 2013, which was too late to mention it in her book, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, that was published that year.

“Brushing my teeth is the hardest thing I do all day,” she said. “I’m like a window washer without a safety harness. Of course, I have a hard time talking, and traveling is ridiculous. It’s just the nature of the beast.” Ronstadt added that she makes a point of working out regularly. “It’s important to push that signal through my brain,” she explained. “It takes a lot of will.”

She said she took inspiration from one of the world’s best-known persons living with Parkinson’s. “Michael J. Fox told me, ‘I make plans, and I keep them,” she said. You can see a schedule of “A Conversation With Linda Ronstadt” dates on her website.



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