Raitt paid a lot of dues to sing the blues. For years, she plodded through the obscurity of poor album sales and an industry that simply passed her by. She fell into substance abuse and was all but washed up. Then, in 1990, she released an album titled
Nick of Time, won multiple Grammies, and rose from cellar-dweller to queen of the blues-rock world.
This is her story as related by an author who has written books on everyone from Cher and Vanilla Ice to Le Ann Rimes and Vince Gill. Bonnie was born in Burbank, California - the very neighborhood where she'd later land a recording deal with Warner Bros. Records - where her mother played piano and her father was a Broadway leading man. Music was always all around her, and she began listening to the British Invasion groups like
The Beatles and the Rolling Stones along with the Motown artists like Martha and the Vandellas,
The Four Tops, and The Temptations.
But it was an album called Blues at Newport '63 that really called her. This was the first time she'd ever really studied blues guitar, and when she heard artists like John Lee Hooker and Brownie McGhee laying down 12-bar riffs, she was transformed.
All of that is here: the early influences; signing with Warner Bros.; recording; and the eventual success. She is a rarity in the world of rock - a white, female slide-guitar-playing blues singer. But she is so uniquely blessed with an extraordinary voice and terrific feel for the guitar that it is no wonder her star finally rose.