Throughout her storied career, Linda Ronstadt often delved into the country and roots music worlds, from her folk rock beginnings with the Stone Poneys to her membership in the Trio alongside Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. This December, she represents all of popular music as a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.
The list of inductees revealed on Thursday (July 18) also includes the band Earth, Wind & Fire, the children's television show Sesame Street, San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas and Smokey and the Bandit star Sally Field.
"Linda Ronstadt is the defining voice of a generation, spanning genres, languages and continents," says Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in a press release.
The prestigious award for excellence in the performing arts dates back to 1978. Recipients with ties to country and Americana music have become less scarce in recent years. In this decade alone, honorees have included Merle Haggard (2010), The Eagles (2016), Mavis Staples (2016) and Reba McEntire (2018).
The awards will be presented on Dec. 7, and the recipients will be honored at a gala the following evening. A CBS broadcast of the festivities airs on Dec. 15.
In other Ronstadt news, a documentary about her life titled The Sound of My Voice arrives in theaters this September. The film will trace Ronstadt's life from her upbringing in Tucson, Arizona to her incredible career, from her beginning in the folk-rock and country-rock scene to her solo career, which featured smash hits like "You're No Good," "When Will I Be Loved," "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" and "Blue Bayou." The film will also chronicle Ronstadt's activist work for marriage equality and advocacy for undocumented immigrants.