Bonnie Raitt is one of the most celebrated female artists in music today. The daughter of two accomplished musicians, Broadway star John Raitt and pianist Marge Goddard, Bonnie has released 19 albums to date and has 9 Grammy awards under her belt. Perhaps more notable are her social activism and philanthropy; she has created numerous charity organizations to help struggling young people become musicians and to preserve Rhythm and Blues as an artform and "natural resource." The redhead with a white streak has also campaigned and played benefit concerts for a variety of issues including anti-war protest, presidential campaigns, environmental protection, feminism, and apartheid.
Raitt is an extremely passionate, intelligent woman. The story really began in 1957, when Bonnie was 8 years old and her parents gave her a guitar for Christmas. She loved to play, but never thought she'd explore a career in music. In the 1960s she studied Social Relations and African Studies at Harvard, but music was in her blood and she found herself playing the blues at local coffeehouses. Before she finished school, Bonnie had already chosen to abandon university life and throw herself into her music, opening for acts like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. She credits her success to growing up around and studying under "some of the greatest blues people who've ever lived."
Raitt was quickly given a record deal; in 1971 Warner Brothers released her self-titled debut album. Bonnie gathered an ecclectic following--from country fans to blues enthusiasts--but she couldn't seem to break into the mainstream. She released seven albums before ever seeing her first hit single, "Runaway." By the 1980s, Raitt was gaining momentum and received three Grammy nominations, though no awards. She left Warner Bros. and joined the Capitol Records label in 1989.
Was it the change of scenery? A change in sound? There is definitely an audible difference in the music Bonnie Raitt released after joining Capitol. She won three Grammies in 1990 for Nick of Time, which went straight to #1. She followed up her success with Luck of the Draw, her most famous album, which went platinum 7 times and earned her 3 more Grammies. If you've heard of Bonnie Raitt, you probably know her soulful ballad "I Can't Make You Love Me" or the more country-pop "Something to Talk About," both featured on that album. A few years later she released Longing in Their Hearts, winning her first Grammy for Best Pop Album. Bonnie Raitt became a household name.
Shortly thereafter, Bonnie Raitt's career took a strangely anticlimactic turn: she stopped releasing her own records and started teaming up with other artists, doing tribute albums, and performing live. One of her more memorable partnerships actually took place with her father, John, with whom she collaborated on his 1995 release, Broadway Legend. It wasn't until three years later that she released her next solo project, Fundamental, which reflected her love of Africa and her desire to continue experimenting with sound.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Bonnie Raitt's tireless career is her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Since then she has continued to work with world-renowned artists, release her own music, participated in several TV shows and movies, played concert benefits, and devote much of her time to politics, activism, and philanthropy.
Discography (does not include collaborations or guest appearances)
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