The collection spans the wide variety of music that Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson native, produced during her career.
The University of Arizona School of Music
has announced the recent acquisition of the Linda Ronstadt Collection. The collection contains orchestrations, memorabilia and photographs.
Many of the manuscripts were written by bandleader Nelson Riddle and add to the UA's already extensive collection of mid-20th Century American music.
Ronstadt was one of the defining and most musically diverse icons of her generation. After attending the UA briefly in the 1960s, she left Tucson and moved to California to pursue her interests in music. She joined a folk-rock trio, the Stone Poneys, and within a few years had a hit album.
Ronstadt then embarked on a solo career, which over the course of the 1970s produced a number of chart-topping records in country and rock 'n' roll.
The 1980s marked a significant change for Ronstadt's career. Instead of following public expectation, she rebelled against the mainstream pop establishment and crossed into a number of unexpected musical genres.
She explored opera through Puccini's "La Boheme" and Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates and Penzance." She even recorded an album of traditional Mexican music called "Canciones de Mi Padre."
What surprised critics the most was her decision to record a series of studio orchestra albums that celebrated the traditional pop music of the 1950s. This music that was once championed by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and subsequently was overturned by the rock 'n' roll generation of the 1960s.
When asked why she chose to sing material that was not in fashion in the 1980s, Ronstadt responded, "The songs were better than anything that was being written at the time. My feeling is that was the zenith of American popular song."
She also explained her reason behind the gift of these papers to the UA. She related to the existing Nelson Riddle Collection at the UA School of Music and "the fact that I'm a native of Tucson, Ariz."
The UA School of Music holds many prominent American music collections, such as those of Artie Shaw, Jo Stafford, Les Baxter, as well as Nelson Riddle.