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Music / Bonnie Raitt

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"I think people must wonder how a white girl like me became a blues guitarist..."

At the age of twenty, Bonnie Lynn Raitt (born November 8, 1949), the daughter of famed musical theatre actor John Raitt, put a career in the political arena on hold to tour with The Rolling Stones and never looked back.

The Grammy-winning guitar player and vocalist has been a fixture in the music industry since the early 70's, releasing critically acclaimed (if not terribly commercially successful) albums throughout that decade and into the next before a cold streak in the mid eighties threatened to derail her career for good. The self-styled comeback effort Nick of Time did all that and more, not only regaining her critical standing but setting the stage for a run as one of the most popular acts of the early-to-mid-1990s. The 1991 follow-up, Luck of the Draw featured her two most famous songs, "Something To Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me".


Rolling Stone readers voted her to their lists of the greatest singers (50th) and guitarists (89th) of all time.

Discography (get ready for a Long List):


Let's give 'em something to talk about - how about tropes, tropes, tropes?

  • Ace Custom: Raitt is the only female guitarist with a signature series Stratocaster to her name. Her tour guitar (pictured) is also a custom model, bought secondhand early in her career.
  • Break-Up Song: "I Can't Make You Love Me", fittingly one of Adele's recurring covers.
  • The Cameo: Bonnie briefly appears in The Country Bears.
  • Career Resurrection: A No-Hit Wonder in the 1970s, she went into the wilderness during the 1980s before making a major comeback in the early 1990s with Nick of Time, to the point that she became more popular in The '90s than she was in The '70s. Most of her best known songs are post-comeback.
  • Cool Old Lady: Even in her sixties, she's still a major concert draw whose albums debut in the top ten.
  • Cover Version: While Raitt has found success as a songwriter, she's primarily an interpretive artist who can remake anything from 1920s Sippie Wallace numbers to New Wave Music in her folk-blues style.
  • Determinator: "I Will Not Be Denied"
  • Distinct Double Album: Slipstream is a downplayed version - half the album was recorded with Joe Henry's session players and the other half recorded with her touring band.
  • Everyone Can See It: "Something To Talk About"
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "Nick Of Time" features a miked sandbag for its "heartbeat" percussion.
  • I Call It "Vera": The creatively-named brown touring guitar, "Brownie".
  • Intercourse with You: Raitt was prone to these often during her early career. "Love Me Like A Man" is probably the clearest example.
    They all want me to rock them/Like my back ain't got no bone/I want a man to rock me/Like my back bone was his own/Darlin', I know you can..
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "I Can't Make You Love Me", again.
  • Live Album: Road Tested and the Decades Rock Live appearance.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: "The Road's My Middle Name"
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Something Blues: "Walking Blues"
  • Spiritual Successor: For a time, Susan Tedeschi was billed as Raitt's spiritual successor - similarly a white female blues vocalist/guitarist with pop leanings - but Tedeschi has since moved to fronting the massive Tedeschi Trunks Band, embracing more of a southern rock sound in the process.