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Heart Like a Wheel

4.8 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Linda hit on the perfect mix of soulful, driving numbers (her smashes You're No Good and her irresistible spin of the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved ) and soft, sweet ones ( It Doesn't Matter Anymore; Willin' ) on this 1974 classic. Her first #1!

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It's often said that this 1974 set, Ronstadt's true commercial breakthrough after a half decade's worth of minor hits, set the formula for the platinum successes to follow: some underrecognized singer/songwriter jewels, a couple of semi-obscure early rock tunes, always with something for country radio as well as Top 40 to grab hold of. But Heart Like a Wheel does it with a magic Ronstadt and her L.A. session crew would never touch again; for one thing, she was rarely again as convincingly tough ("You're No Good") or as fragile (the Anna McGarrigle-penned title track) as she is here. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000007O1A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,896 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Linda Ronstadt's HEART LIKE A WHEEL is essential for anyone who likes Country/Rock/Pop. It's almost like the glue for every music collection. Ronstadt's clearly moving into Rock, but retains some of her Country roots. "You're No Good", her first #1 single, is breath-taking, there's so much power in that song. No one's done Paul Anka's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" as well as Linda Ronstadt. It's simply gorgeous. One her best J.D. Souther covers is "Faithless Love". She rocks up "The Dark End Of The Street", with a passionately agressive (vocal) performance. In my opinion it tops the version done by the Flying Burrito Brothers. The title song, actually named "Heart Is Like A Wheel" is hauntingly beautiful. It has cello, viola, fiddle arrangements that alternate, with a sweet harmony vocal from Maria Muldar, and outstanding orchestration from David Campell (whose arranged strings for her since). I'd take Linda's version of "When Will I Be Loved", over any other, any day. It rocks hard, and became one of her top singles. "Willing" is great. The duet that started the magic was "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)", sung by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. The song deserved the Grammy it won. The simple arrangements fit "Keep Me From Blowing Away". "You Can Close Your Eyes" is one of the best closing songs on her album catalog. Gregory Rose's string arrangements on "You're No Good", "It Doesn't Matter Anymore", ""The Dark End Of The Street", and "You Can Close Your Eyes" are marevlous. With an exceptional array of musicians, thoughtful production, and brilliant performances from Ronstadt, HEART LIKE A WHEEL is unbeatable. It's the album that made Linda Ronstadt a star. It's the album that will make your collection complete.
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Format: Audio CD
A classic singer's album, "Heart Like a Wheel" bears up under repeated listenings 27 years after its issue. The album's tasteful arrangements fit around Linda's flawless vocals so securely that the time spent to listen to the album flows by as if it weren't there.
The session began with a hit, "You're No Good," but the real strength of "Heart Like a Wheel" lies in its sorrowful ballads: "Faithless Love," "Dark End of the Street," "Keep Me from Blowin' Away," and the title cut, to which Maria Muldaur adds an aching harmony. Albums previous to this one had shown the power of Ronstadt's voice, but here the arrangements and the poignancy of the lyrics allowed the beauty of her voice to shine through fully.
Another great programming move was the segue between the rock-out version of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved" and Lowell George's "Willin'." The former shows that two minutes is plenty for a great rock performance if you've got the vocal chops of Ronstadt. As it ends with a nice patch of vocal harmony, a guitar slips in and a harmonica sighs and Linda's vocal wraps around the first lines of "Willin'," a wistful but gritty tale. It's a fine moment and one that never wears out for this listener.
Many of us grew up with Linda Ronstadt, and she has had an incredibly varied career. That's a great thing for an artist, but one hopes that this entry to her discography will not be forgotten. An underrated gem.
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Format: Audio CD
Linda Ronstadt's 1974 breakthrough hit Heart Like A Wheel represents her greatest musical accomplishment and one of country pop's definitive moments. The album opens with the visceral rock 'n roll of "You're No Good," a No. 1 pop hit. But it is the suite of ballads that follows that make Heart Like A Wheel so memorable. Never again would Ronstadt be able to capture the chillingly fragile heartbreak of the title track, the guilty love of "Dark End of the Street" or the frustration of "When Will I Be Loved?"
Ronstadt's voice is well suited for the melodic banjo lines, rolling piano notes and horns of country pop, but she also uses her higher register to good effect. When she sings the line "and my love for you is like a sinking ship," her wavering voice nearly cracks with heartbreak--a sharp contrast to "Dark End of the Street," when she intones "please don't cry / tonight we'll meet / at the dark end of the street."
Elsewhere on the album, Ronstadt's voice blends perfectly with the musical arrangements. Her cover of Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" rolls along with an insistent drum-line that echoes the song's theme of reluctantly but assuredly moving on after a tedious break-up, while the blaringly loud chorus of "Willing" is as hopeful and the lyrics are determined: "I've been warped by the wind, driven by the snow...But I'm still willin'."
Heart Like A Wheel is not a celebration of love but rather, an exploration of the anguish and power of heartbreak. Relationships here are unhealthy or hopeless ("Dark End of the Street," "Faithless Love"), breakups are overwhelmingly sad ("Heart Like A Wheel," "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You") and prospects for the future are tenuous, at best ("When Will I Be Loved," "Keep Me From Blowing Away").
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