Don’t Know Much – Linda Ronstadt (featuring Aaron Neville) | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#2) & Adult Contemporary (#1 for 5 weeks); 1989

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

By 1989 Aaron Neville’s singing career had spanned over 30 years, yet – except for a lone hit in 1967 (Tell It Like It Is: #2 Pop & #1 R&B) – he was relatively unknown outside of the thriving New Orleans music community. Linda Ronstadt, on the other hand, first charted as part of the Stone Poneys (Different Drum, #13; 1968) then scored numerous solo album and single successes. Linda and Aaron first met in 1984 when the two shared some impromptu vocals at a Neville Brothers gig in the Crescent City, however, their schedules prevented an on-record collaboration until the 1988 sessions for Linda’s Cry Like A Rainstorm – Howl Like The Wind album. The initial single, Don’t Know Much, had twice reached the lower regions of the pop list in versions by Righteous Brother Bill Medley in 1981 and Bette Midler in 1983. Linda and Aaron’s third-time-around rendition struck gold and brought the duo a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Group Performance.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Peter Asher
  • Steve Tyrell

Lyrics Written by:

  • Barry Mann
  • Cynthia Weil
  • Tom Snow


  • “Don’t Know Much” won Ronstadt and Neville the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal