Bonnie Raitt is an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist with a fortune of $12 million, according to Forbes. Having begun publishing records with a rootsy feel in the 1970s, Raitt has since released 17 studio albums, including the 5x Platinum “Nick of Time” (1989), the 7x Platinum “Luck of the Draw” (1991), and the 2x Platinum “Longing in Their Hearts” (2000). (1994).
As a slide guitar player, Bonnie is recognised for her hits “Something to Talk About,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Love Sneakin’ Up On You,” and “Not the Only One,” as well as her collaborations with artists such as the Rolling Stones. As of 2015, “Rolling Stone” listed Raitt at No. 89 on its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list and at No. 50 on its 2008 “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list.
Life at the Beginning
Bonnie Lynn Raitt was born in Burbank, California, on November 8, 1949. When Bonnie was born, she was the only child of actors John Raitt and Marjorie Haydock. She grew up with her brothers David and Steve. Marjorie Goddard, a doctor with the US Public Health Service, married Raitt’s mother, Marjorie, after their divorce in 1970. Rosamond Smith and Rosemary Kraemer were both married to John, who had starred in Broadway musicals including “The Pajama Game” and “Carousel.” Steve passed away in 2009, just a few years after Marjorie.
Bonnie Raitt learnt to play the piano as a kid as a result of her parents’ encouragement. Stella guitars and Adirondack Mountains summer camp were two of the gifts she got as an 8-year-old at Christmas. As a youngster at Camp Regis, Bonnie Raitt was frequently asked to perform for the other campers. A graduate of Poughkeepsie, NY’s Oakwood Friends School and Harvard University’s Radcliffe College, Bonnie had aspirations to study abroad in Tanzania under the leadership of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, who was establishing a socialist and democratic state. A member of the Revolutionary Music Collective as a college student, Bonnie Raitt became close friends with blues promoter Dick Waterman. With Waterman and other local artists, she spent her sophomore year living in Philadelphia, which she has characterised as “an experience that altered everything.”
At the 1970 Philly Folk Festival, Bonnie Raitt played with Mississippi Fred McDowell and opened for John Hammond at the Gaslight Cafe. It all started with a “Newsweek” writer who heard Raitt play and proceeded to spread the word about her. It was in November 1971 that she signed with Warner Bros. and released her self-titled debut album. “Takin’ My Time” (1973), “Streetlights” (1974), and “Home Plate” (1975) were all Gold-certified albums by Bonnie (1975). With “Sweet Forgiveness” and “Runaway” on the album’s cover, Bonnie Raitt became a household name in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A string of albums and singles followed, including 1979’s The Glow, 1982’s Green Light, and 1986’s “No Way to Treat a Lady,” which peaked at number 15 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks list.
Sun City, Farm Aid, and a Soviet/American Peace Concert were among Bonnie’s many anti-apartheid activities in the 1980s. In the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy,” she sang the song “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance,” and in the 1987 television special “Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night,” she sang background. She signed with Capitol Records when Warner Bros. rejected her, and her 1989 album “Nick of Time” topped the Billboard 200 chart and was placed #229 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list in 2003.
As a result, “Something to Talk About,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Not the Only One,” and “Come to Me” all charted in the top ten of the Adult Contemporary list, while the album itself peaked at number two on Billboard’s 200 chart in 1991. The track “Love Sneakin’ Up On You” climbed to number one in Canada and number two on the “Billboard” Adult Contemporary chart with her 1994 album “Longing in Their Hearts.”
Rock Steady, a duet with Bryan Adams, appeared on the 1995 live album “Road Tested” and was certified Gold in the United States and Canada. In 1998 and 2002, Raitt released the gold-certified albums “Fundamental” and “Silver Lining,” respectively. In 2005, he published “Souls Alike.” In 2006, Bonnie Raitt released the live CD/DVD “Bonnie Raitt and Friends,” and in 2007, she collaborated with Jon Cleary on the album “Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino,” performing a mashup of “All by Myself” and “I’m in Love Again.”
On “Slipstream” in 2012, Bonnie Raitt published her sixth studio album, which “American Songwriter” called “one of the greatest of her 40-year career.” Dig in Deep” was her 17th album, published in 2016, and she was scheduled for a tour with James Taylor in 2018, but she cancelled the first leg because she had a “medical condition” that necessitated surgery. Following Bonnie’s announcement of her Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in December of 2021, “Billboard” revealed in January of 2022 that she will receive the Icon Award at the “Billboard” Women In Music Awards in the following month.
Life at Home: Bonnie Raitt
It was on April 27, 1991, that Bonnie Raitt wed actor Michael O’Keefe, and the pair separated in 2000. “I believed I had to live that partying lifestyle in order to be honest,” Raitt told “Parade” magazine in 2012, “but in fact if you keep it up too long, all you’re going to be is sloppy or dead. My 25-year sobriety anniversary was just a few weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to get chosen. Even though everyone laughed at Amy Winehouse’s rendition of “Rehab,” for me, hearing her sing that song was painful because she sounded like she was on the verge of a downward spiral.
As a founding member of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) in 1979, Bonnie has supported the Abalone Alliance, Little Kids Rock, Reverb and No Nukes. Aside from Fred McDowell (the man who mentored her), Tommy Johnson, Memphis Minnie, and Sam Chatmon (all of whom she has replaced headstones for), she has also helped collect money for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief work by appearing on an Aid Still Required CD in 2008. In 1991, the Berklee College of Music in Boston awarded Raitt an Honorary Doctorate of Music.
Nominations and Awards
As a result of being nominated for 26 Grammy Awards, Bonnie Raitt has won 10. In 1990, she won for “Nick of Time,” “I’m In The Mood,” and “Best Traditional Blues Recording” for “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal,” respectively, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Female and Album of the Year. For “Luck Of The Draw” and “Something To Talk About,” and for “Something To Talk About” and “Something To Talk About,” respectively, in 1992, and for “Something To Talk About” and “Something To Talk About,” respectively, in 1995, and for “Slipstream” and “Slipstream,” respectively, in 2013. For “VH1 Honors,” Bonnie and Al Green earned a CableACE Award nomination for Performance in a Music Special or Series in 1995.
When Bonnie Raitt was nominated for Artist of the Year four years later, she got a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance at the Americana Music Honors & Awards in 2012. Along with her Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Guitar Museum in 2017, Raitt has earned the Harvard Arts Medal (1997), the Folk Alliance International Awards People’s Voice Award (2018), and the Harvard Arts Medal (1997). In 2002, a star was erected in honour of Bonnie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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