Sad news for music today as Berklee Honorary Doctorate recipient Linda Ronstadt discloses her medical condition in an interview with AARP. The eleven time Grammy-Award winner says that she is no longer able to sing and is bound to a wheelchair due to Parkinson's Disease.
"I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had," Ronstadt remarks, but the interview excerpt does not reveal whether she is referring to Lyme disease or not.
What does Parkinson's Disease do to vocal cords? According to UWHealth.org, '...the most common communication problem associated with Parkinson's Disease is vocal loudness. Individuals with Parkinson's Disease have been measured to be about 10 decibels lower in volume to the average listener'. Vocal performance experts from Berklee emphasize that the decreased use of 'breathing from the diaphragm' may also affect vocal projection.
Linda Marie Ronstadt (67) has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, along with an Emmy Award and multi-platinum albums. In total, she has released over 30 studio LP's and has charted thirty-eight Billboard Hot 100 singles, ten of which made it to top 10, three to No. 2, and 'You're No Good', her biggest hit, to No. 1. Her last big hit, a duet with Aaron Neville, "Don't Know Much", reached No. 2 in 1989.