How Do I Make You

Album: Mad Love (1980)
Charted: 10


  • This was the first hit song Billy Steinberg wrote. He went on to write 5 US #1 hits, including "Eternal Flame," "Like A Virgin" and "True Colors." He explains how Rondstadt came to record the song: "The band I had at that time was called Billy Thermal. And Billy, of course, is my name, and Thermal is a little town in the Coachella Valley where my dad had a vineyard. So I worked on that farm of his at that time. So I decided to call my band Billy Thermal. And that was the band that was signed to Planet Records with Richard Perry. The guitar player in the band was a guy from Florida who was living in L.A., his name was Craig Hull. And Craig's girlfriend at that time was a pretty well-known songwriter named Wendy Waldman. And Wendy would sometimes tour with Linda Ronstadt as a background vocalist. So without asking my permission or anything, Wendy and Craig played the Billy Thermal demos for Linda Ronstadt, and Linda liked the song 'How Do I Make You.'"
  • Steinberg: "I remember, the song 'My Sharona' came out by The Knack, and I thought it was just like ear candy. It was just really exciting. So I think my song, 'How Do I Make You' was a little bit influenced by 'My Sharona.'" (Check out our interview with Billy Steinberg.)

Comments: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 21st 1979, Linda Ronstadt hosted and performed at a benefit concert* for her boyfriend Jerry Brown, who at the time was governor of California but running for President...
    She didn't have a record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at the time; but a little over five weeks later on January 27th, 1980 her "How Do I Make You" entered the chart at position #68, and on March 23rd it would peak at #10 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 16 weeks...
    May God bless and watch over Ms. Ronstadt...
    * Also appearing at the concert were the Eagles and Chicago...
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis was Linda's attempt of being a new wave rocker, rather than a ballad singer.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Benny Mardones

Benny MardonesSongwriter Interviews

His song "Into The Night" is one of the most-played of all time. For Benny, it took him to hell and back.

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.

Francesca Battistelli

Francesca BattistelliSongwriter Interviews

The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.

Trucking Songs That Were #1 Hits

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.