Linda Ronstadt was rummaging through memories tucked in a dresser drawer not long ago and came across a cassette tape from another lifetime.

It was recorded at her home in California near the beach in Malibu in the mid-1970s. Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther had dropped by and the three of them were doing what they usually did when they got together at one another’s homes: playing music.

“We’d sit around and someone would pull out a guitar. ‘You writing any songs?’ ‘Oh, this is a new one,’” she recalled earlier this month during a phone call from San Francisco to talk about her Tucson homecoming next weekend.

On that night, Browne pulled out “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” written by Warren Zevon.

“Jackson was producing his record at the time and he said, ‘You got to learn this song,’” she recalled. “I was always trying to get Jackson’s new song or J.D.’s new song, but they also made their own albums so they would save them for their own records. They were kind of stingy giving them to me, so I would get them after they recorded them.”

But Ronstadt scored a coup: A year after Zevon released his version, she recorded the song in 1977 for her album “Simple Dreams.” The song went on to become her one of her signature hits and the album was certified triple platinum (3 million copies sold).

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