On this day in 1949, singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt was born in Los Angeles. While enjoying moderate success from the early '70s, Raitt pushed her recording career to the platinum-selling level with a series of albums beginning with 1989's Nick of Time.
Raitt is the daughter of Broadway singer John Raitt, who acheived fame in musicals like "The Pajama Game" and "Carousel." Bonnie loved blues music when she was growing up and began playing guitar at age 12. In 1967, she entered Radcliffe College, but soon dropped out to tour Boston folk and blues clubs. She was signed by blues-lover Dick Waterman, who got her to perform with the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Sippie Wallace, and other blues giants.
Warner Bros. Records signed Raitt, and her early albums received critical notice for her fine singing and instrumental prowess. Songwriting was not one of her strengths, however, and her repertoire was supplied primarily by the works of others. Raitt's second LP, Give It Up (1972), included tunes by Jackson Browne and Eric Kaz. Though Raitt issued about an LP a year at that point, she didn't score a hit until her cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway" from1977's gold-selling Sweet Forgiveness.
In 1979, Raitt released The Glow and appeared at an all-star anti-nuclear concert staged by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), an organization she had co-founded, at New York's Madison Square Garden.
In the '80s, Raitt continued to play benefit concerts for a variety of causes, but she had no luck commercially and battled with drugs and alcohol. After being dropped by her label, she eventually was signed by Capitol Records and employed producer Don Was for Nick of Time (1989). The LP catapulted Raitt to stardom, winning Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year) and generating hit singles such as John Hiatt's "Thing Called Love."
In 1991, Raitt married actor Michael O'Keefe and issued Luck of the Draw, which spawned the smash "Something to Talk About" and the moving ballad "I Can't Make You Love Me." Longing In Their Hearts (1994) yielded the hit "Love Sneakin' Up On You."
This year, Raitt released Fundamental, which included cuts such as "The Fundamental Things" (Real Audio Excerpt), and played several Lilith Fair dates.
Gerald Alston (Manhattans), 56; Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie), 54; Donald Ray Murray (Turtles), 53; Roy Wood (Move/ELO/Wizard), 52; Alan Berger (Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes), 49; Rickie Lee Jones, 44; Terry Lee Miall (Adam & the Ants), 40; Leif Garrett, 37; Minnie Riperton, 1947-1979.