Credibility and commercial success don't always go hand in hand, but in Bonnie Raitt's case, they seem in sync. Born November 8, 1949, to Broadway superstar John Raitt and his first wife, pianist Marjorie Haydock, she clearly had music in her genes, but it was by riding the wave of the '60s blues revival that Raitt found her true calling. A master of bottleneck blues guitar and gifted with a rich soulful vocal, she got her start in the fertile Boston club scene and eventually made her way to New York. A reporter from Newsweek magazine spotted her and began touting her talents, leading to an eventual offer from Warner Bros. Records.
Fortunately, Raitt remained true to her muse, and despite a string of highly lauded efforts, it was a full seven years before she reaped the sufficient sales that would move her into the mainstream. It came courtesy of another cover -- an unlikely one at that -- a rugged version of Del Shannon's "Runaway." Warner Bros. began eyeing her as a star, but when her follow-up attempts failed to reap their rewards, they eventually dropped her from the label, with notice coming the day after the mastering on her new album, the aborted Tongue & Groove, was completed.
No Nukes concert and surrounded by a host of famous friends. Moving forward, she later participated in the Sun City anti-apartheid effort as well as benefits on behalf of Farm Aid and Amnesty International.
Raitt's next album, Luck of the Draw, reaped a pair of hit singles, "Something to Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me"; three additional Grammys; and enough momentum to once again propel her up the charts, thanks to sales of 8 million copies. In 1994, she achieved her second number-one record with the album Longing in Their Hearts, a double Grammy winner.
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