Following the same formula as her early records, Heart Like a Wheel doesn't appear to be a great breakthrough on the surface. However, Ronstadt comes into her own on this mix of oldies and contemporary classics. Backed by a fleet of Los Angeles musicians, Ronstadt sings with vigor and passion, helping bring the music alive. But what really makes Heart Like a Wheel a breakthrough is the inventive arrangements that producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt, and the studio musicians have developed. Finding the right note for each song -- whether it's the soulful reworking of "When Will I Be Loved," the hit "You're No Good," or the laid-back folk-rock of "Willing" -- the musicians help turn Heart Like a Wheel into a veritable catalog of Californian soft rock, and it stands as a landmark of '70s mainstream pop/rock.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine