Seeing Bonnie Raitt in concert reminds me about Linda Ronstadt and Parkinson's Disease

Seeing Bonnie Raitt in concert reminds me about Linda Ronstadt and Parkinson's Disease

Legendary musician Bonnie Raitt has been on a concert tour this summer. Last Saturday, she played at Ravinia, up in the north Chicago suburbs. Raitt put on a great show, mixing up the older songs along with the songs from her new album, "Dig In Deep."

At age 66, Bonnie still looks great, still has her great voice and can still shred on her guitar. She always says how grateful she is for her life and for how she can still play music while a lot of her colleagues are gone. When you hear this, you can't help but think about Linda Ronstadt.

The 1970's was a great decade for female musicians. Joni Mitchell and Carole King had huge hit albums first with Raitt and Ronstadt coming along a few years later. Their early careers had a lot of similarities. They had a lot of the same musical influences. While neither is a prolific songwriter, they chose songs to record from a lot of the same musicians. They even recorded three of the same Eric Kaz songs, including my favorite "Love Has No Pride" and "I'm Blowing Away."

You could find the two of them at the same benefit/tribute concerts and often playing with same musicians. It was hard to think of Linda without thinking of Bonnie and vice versa. Eventually Ronstadt moved in different musical directions while Raitt kept plugging along.

In 2016, Bonnie Raitt is as big a musical star as she has ever been. Her albums get good reviews and her concerts sell out.
In 2016, Linda Ronstadt is done as a musician and has been for a few years. Parkinson's Disease.

No case of Parkinson's is the same. It affects people in different ways. Some people have tremors. Some people have balance issues. Parkinson's hit Ronstadt's vocal chords. She is unable to sing. She lost her instrument. Her last album was in 2004. Her last concert was in 2009. Linda retired in 2011 and announced her Parkinson's diagnosis in 2013. Her case of Parkinson's also make it difficult to travel. She was unable to attend her 2014 induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One of the musicians honoring her that night.....Bonnie Raitt.

Moving dayThis is the time of the year where there are Parkinson's Disease walks are going on throughout the country...Moving Day! Our local Chicago walk is coming up in about two weeks, on September 24th. We walk to raise money so people with Parkinson's can live a better life. That includes Linda Ronstadt. We also walk to raise money to try to find a cure for this hideous disease. That also includes Linda Ronstadt.

It's been a bad year in the celebrity Parkinson's Disease world. So far we've lost Maurice White from the band "Earth, Wind and Fire" and of course, Muhammad Ali. I'm not ready to lose Linda yet. I also want to remember her as the singer I knew in the 1970's and not who she is now. Thanks to Bonnie Raitt, I can do that.


This is a piece about the night Linda Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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