A pioneer of alternative country music in the early 1970s, Linda Ronstadt changed her tune and became one of rock's first divas by uttering three little words that sent chills down the spines: "You're No Good."
The taut takedown—"Feeling better now that we're through/Feeling better 'cause I'm over you"— topped the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1975.
It was the then-28-year-old singer's first hit as a solo artist and would prove to be the only No. 1 single in a career that came to an end in 2011 when the 11-time Grammy Award winner was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. But the breakthrough smash established the template that would net Ronstadt another sweet 16 Top 40 singles over the next 15 years, all of them cover songs.
"You're No Good," written by Clint Ballard Jr., was originally recorded in 1963 by two different soul singers, Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett, whose version peaked at No. 51. (She fared even better with her next single, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)," which soared to No. 6 in the spring of 1964.)
Despite its success, Ronstadt made no secret of the fact that she didn't particularly like her rendition of "You're No Good," which kicked off her 1974 album "Heart Like a Wheel," the first of five consecutive platinum albums in the '70s.
"I didn't sing it very well," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1983. "As a song it was just an afterthought. It's not the kind of song I got a lot of satisfaction out of singing."
Hard to believe that when the perfectionist with a four-octave range was saying "You're No Good," she may have actually been talking to herself.
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images