Raitt" (1971), her Warner Brothers debut, featured blues
classics by Robert Johnson and Sippie Wallace, as well as what would
become her trademark mix of R&B, rock, originals and contemporary
songs by great, usually little-known, songwriters. It displayed
precocious power chops the performer had honed in East coast
coffeehouses and on the road as she'd joined the vanguard of the folk
and blues revival.
With six albums in seven years, "Give
it Up," "Takin'
My Time" and "Home
Plate" revealed her strengths as an interpreter of great songs
Randy Newman, Alan Toussaint, Eric Kaz). "Sweet
Forgiveness" (1977) was a particular highlight, its durability
won by years on the road (up to eight months a year), and its
accessibility landing Bonnie her first charting single, a funky remake
of Del Shannon's "Runaway."
Light" and "Nine
Lives" underscored Bonnie Raitt's aesthetic achievement
throughout the 80's, gathering three Grammy nominations. She also
continued to move to the forefront of artists, demonstrating concern
about issues such as nuclear power, the war in central America,
apartheid (the "Sun City" project), environmental protection,
as well as Native American women's and human rights.
With a new alliance in 1989 with Capitol Records and
producer Don Was came Bonnie's breakthrough, the hugely successful
of Time." Garnering four Grammy Awards in 1990, including Best
Album, "It was like winning the lottery," she says.
"It catapulted the record to #1 and soon I was off on a whole new
tour, this time playing to up to 20,000 a night."
of the Draw" and its hits, "Something to Talk About"
and "I Can't Make You Love Me," the winning streak continued.
in Their Hearts" followed with more critical and commercial
success and "Road
Tested," a live tour-de-force double CD and movie, marked the
culmination of a career-long dream.
With nine Grammys and virtually non-stop touring under
her belt, Bonnie decided to take a break and enjoy some of the
well-earned rewards of life off the road. Spending time mountain biking,
hiking and doing yoga, enjoying family and friends and traveling for fun
instead of work brought her a great sense of renewal and purpose.
Of course, she never really went too far away,
managing to sing and play on numerous friends' records (duets with
Ruth Brown, guest spots with
Ladysmith Black Mambazo,
Bruce Cockburn, and tracks on the tribute
records for Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lowell George, and Pete Seeger) and
continuing her "day job" fundraising, benefits and
activism in service to the causes she holds dear.
"The Rhythm and Blues Foundation has been a labor
of love," she says of the organization she helped found to improve
the financial condition, recognition and royalty rates of a whole
generation of R&B pioneers to whom she feels we owe so much.
In 1995, she initiated the Bonnie Raitt Fender
Guitar Project with Fender and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America
to encourage inner city girls to learn to play guitar. Proceeds from the
sales of her Signature Guitar help underwrite the effort.
"I'm so glad that I can do something to offer an
opportunity for all those kids who don't have access to instruments and
lessons like I did," she says.
Also active in promoting anti-nuke awareness, specifically the issue of dumping nuclear waste on Native American
lands, she continues to do concerts to also protect our ancient growth
forests and a woman's right to choose.
Hits include: "Love Sneakin' Up On You",
"Not The Only One", "Have A Heart",
"I Can't Make You Love Me",
"Something To Talk About",
"Nick Of Time", "Thing Called Love",
"No Way To Treat A Lady",
"One Belief Away", "Silver Lining",
"I Will Not Be Broken",
"I Don't Want Anything To Change",
"Don't It Make Ya Wanna Dance",
"Your Gonna Get What's Coming",
"Lover's Will", "Keep This Heart In Mind",
"You Got It", "Come To Me", "You",
"I Can't Help You Now", "All At Once",
"Time Of Our Lives", "Slow Ride",
"Rock Steady", "Runaway".