Bonnie Lynn Raitt (; born November 8, 1949) is an American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and activist.During the 1970s, Raitt released a series of roots-influenced albums that incorporated elements of blues, rock, folk and country. In 1989, after several years of critical acclaim but little commercial success, she had a major hit with the album Nick of Time. The following two albums, Luck of the Draw (1991) and Longing in Their Hearts (1994), were multimillion sellers, generating several hit singles, including "Something to Talk About", "Love Sneakin' Up On You", and the ballad "I Can't Make You Love Me" (with Bruce Hornsby on piano).Raitt has received 10 Grammy Awards. She is listed as number 50 in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and number 89 on the magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Australian country music artist Graeme Connors has said, "Bonnie Raitt does something with a lyric no one else can do; she bends it and twists it right into your heart."
Raitt has taken sabbaticals, including after the deaths of her parents, brother, and best friend. She has said "When I went through a lot of loss, I took a hiatus." Raitt and actor Michael O'Keefe were married on April 27, 1991. They announced their divorce on November 9, 1999, with a causal factor appearing to be that their careers caused considerable time apart. Singer and guitarist David Crosby has said that Raitt is his favorite singer of all time.
Bonnie Lynn Raitt was born on November 8, 1949, in Burbank, California. Her mother, Marge Goddard (née Haydock), was a pianist, while her father, John Raitt, was an actor in musical productions such as Oklahoma! and The Pajama Game. Raitt is of Scottish ancestry; her ancestors constructed Rait Castle near Nairn. As a child, Raitt would often play with her two brothers, Steve and David, and was a self-described tomboy. John Raitt's job as a theater actor meant Bonnie did not interact with him as much as she would have liked. Raitt grew to resent her mother, as she became the main authority figure of the household whenever John was away.Raitt's musically inclined parents had a strong influence on her life. From a young age, she and her two brothers were encouraged to pursue music. At first, Raitt played the piano, but was intimidated by her mother's talent. She instead began playing a Stella guitar, which she received as a Christmas gift in 1957 at the age of eight. Raitt did not take lessons, and instead took influence from the American folk music revival of the 1950s. She was also influenced by the beatnik movement, stating: "It represented my whole belief ... I'd grow my hair real long so I looked like a beatnik."From ages eight through fifteen, Raitt and her brothers attended a summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains called Camp Regis. It was there where Raitt learned of her musical talents, when camp counselors would ask her to play in front of the campers. Learning how to play songs from folk albums then became a hobby for Raitt. As a teenager, Raitt was self-conscious about her weight and her freckles, and saw music as an escape from reality. "That was my saving grace. I just sat in my room and played my guitar" said Raitt.After graduating from Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1967, Raitt entered Radcliffe College, majoring in Social Relations and African studies. She said her "plan was to travel to Tanzania, where President Julius Nyerere was creating a government based on democracy and socialism". She was the lead singer in a campus music group called the "Revolutionary Music Collective" founded by songwriter Bob Telson which played for striking Harvard students during the Student strike of 1970. Raitt became friends with blues promoter Dick Waterman. During her second year of college, Raitt left school for a semester and moved to Philadelphia with Waterman and other local musicians. Raitt said it was an "opportunity that changed everything."
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bonnie_Raitt", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.