Song: Blue Bayou
Artist: Linda Ronstadt
Original artist: Roy Orbison
In American baseball parlance a straight down the middle fastball pitch has become
known as a Linda Ronstadt. The reason why will soon become obvious.
In 1977 Ronstadt released her version of Blue Bayou which had been a hit for its writer
Roy Orbison (co-writer Joe Melson) some 14 years earlier.
Ronstadt’s version reached No3 in the US Billboard Top 100; Orbison’s peaked at 29.
Ronstadt’s place in baseball folklore is attributed to Tim McCarver, a former player who
went on to do commentary work for the New York Mets team. It was during one of his
commentaries that McCarver referred to a fastball as a Linda Ronstadt. When
questioned by his co-commentator about the relevance of such a remark McCarver
replied: “Well, that ball just blew by you”. Dickson’s Baseball Dictionary officially notes
that Linda Ronstadt is a synonym for a fastball.
But, to dwell on the baseball aspect of the song would do both Linda and Roy a dis-
Blue Bayou would go on to become Ronstadt’s “signature” song. It would be certified
Platinum (for sales in excess of two million in the US) and result in two Grammy
nominations for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal performance.
The song would go on to appear in several movies and TV shows. It was used in
Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Dreamcatcher, Man on Fire, The Best of Enemies
and the self-titled 2021 film Blue Bayou. Ronstadt performed the song accompanied by
frogs in the early ’80s on The Muppet Show. It’s worth a look