Bonnie Raitt began playing guitar at an early age, something not a lot of her high school girlfriends did. Later she would become famous for her bottleneck-style guitar playing.
One day, Raitt was notified by a friend that blues promoter Dick Waterman was giving an interview at WHRB, Harvard's college radio station. An important figure in the blues revival of the 1960s, Waterman was also a resident of Cambridge. Raitt went to see Waterman, and the two soon became friends, "much to the chagrin of my parents, who didn't expect their freshman daughter to be running around with 65-year-old bluesmen," recalled Raitt. "I was amazed by his passion for the music and the integrity with which he managed the musicians."
During Raitt's sophomore year, Waterman relocated to Philadelphia, and a number of local musicians he counted among his friends went with him. Raitt had become a strong part of that community, recalling that "these people had become my friends, my mentors, and though I had every intention of graduating, I decided to take the semester off and move to Philadelphia...It was an opportunity that young white girls just don't get, and as it turns out, an opportunity that changed everything."
Bonnie Raitt was beginning to receive greater press coverage, including a 1975 cover story for Rolling Stone Magazine, but with 1974's Streetlights, reviews for her work were becoming increasingly mixed. By now, Raitt was already experimenting with different producers and different styles, and she began to adopt a more mainstream sound that continued through 1975's Home Plate.
1977's Sweet Forgiveness gave Raitt her first commercial breakthrough when it yielded a hit single in her cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway." Recast as a heavy r&b recording based on a rhythmic groove inspired by Al Green, Raitt's version of "Runaway" was disparaged by many critics, but its commercial success prompted a bidding war between Warner Bros. and Columbia Records. "There was this big Columbia – Warner war going on at the time," recalled Raitt in a 1990 interview. "James Taylor had just left Warner Bros. and made a big album for Columbia...And then, Warners signed Paul Simon away from Columbia, and they didn't want me to have a hit record for Columbia — no matter what! So, I renegotiated my contract, and they basically matched Columbia's offer. Frankly the deal was a really big deal."
After more than twenty years of singing and recording popular music, Bonnie Raitt achieved immense success with her 10th album. Released in 1989, Nick of Time went to the top of the U.S. charts and won three Grammy Awards. At the same time, she walked away with a fourth Grammy Award for her duet "In the Mood" with John Lee Hooker on his album "The Healer".
She followed up this success with three more Grammy Awards for her 1991 album, Luck of the Draw, then, in 1994 she added two more Grammy's with her album Longing in Their Hearts.
In March of 2000, Raitt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Read more about Bonnie Raitt'.