Why Linda Ronstadt Didn’t Think the Ramones Were as Good as The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and the Ramones are both classic rock icons. Despite this, when Linda Ronstadt compared the Ramones to Jagger, she felt the former didn’t live up to the latter. While Ronstadt disliked punk music as a whole, she praised certain punk musicians.

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger with a microphone
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger | Evening Standard/Getty Images

What Linda Ronstadt thought of The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and punk music

During a 1978 interview, Rolling Stone’s Peter Herbst asked Ronstadt if she ever saw Jagger perform live. She said she saw him perform a single time. She was very impressed, and the performance gave her ideas for her own shows. Ronstadt also revealed she had stage fright when she performed with Jagger but that she ultimately enjoyed the experience.

Later in the interview, Herbst asked Ronstadt what she thought about punk music. “Well, I like the New Wave stuff, and that couldn’t possibly land in L.A., because nobody moves that intensely,” she replied. “So, of course, it would have to come to New York, because New York is in a similar situation economically. I mean, it’s a similar sort of sociological greenhouse, so to speak, for developing this style of music. The punk stuff is not very musical nor very multifaceted.”

Linda Ronstadt felt there was a connection between Mick Jagger and the Ramones

She then compared Jagger to one of the most famous punk bands, the Ramones. “It seemed to me, when I saw the Ramones, for instance, that they had taken one facet of what Mick Jagger does, which is a kind of stance, maybe one move and maybe one little chip off of an emotional statement, and it was sort of limited to that,” she opined. “Mick Jagger has such a tremendous overview that is so many-faceted that it makes it sound so much more. But if you just take a chunk of it, it doesn’t glimmer as much.”

The Ramones’ “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker”

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While Ronstadt said punk music wasn’t “very musical,” she said she liked two punk acts: Television and Elvis Costello. She praised the latter’s humor. Ronstadt never explained why she liked them but not the Ramones.

How the world reacted to The Rolling Stones and the Ramones

Ronstadt compared Jagger to the Ramones before Jagger released any solo material. With that in mind, it makes more sense to compare The Rolling Stones’ chart performance to that of the Ramones rather than comparing the Ramones’ success to that of Jagger’s solo records. The Rolling Stones released 57 singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Of those singles, 23 reached the top 10. Eight of their top 10 singles reached No. 1, specifically “Paint It Black,” “Miss You,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Angie,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Get Off My Cloud,” and “Brown Sugar.”

The Rolling Stones’ “Angie”

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On the other hand, the Ramones were not chart juggernauts. Only three of their singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100: “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “Do You Wanna Dance,” and “Rockaway Beach.” None of these songs reached the top 40, much less the top 10. Ronstadt said the Ramones didn’t “glimmer” like Jagger artistically — and they didn’t “glimmer” as much commercially either.