Exactly how did a white Quaker girl from Radcliffe College become an acclaimed blues guitarist? (No, the answer isn’t ‘Practice, practice, practice.) In Bonnie Raitt’s case, she became friends and then a protegé of blues promoter and journalist Dick Waterman. Waterman represented such artists as Mississippi John Hurt and “Lightnin'” Hopkins, and he took Raitt under his wing.
Raitt, daughter of Broadway musical star John Raitt, didn’t need a whole lot of help. She was the total package. Great musician, great singer and, of course, great DNA. She received lots of recognition among musicians and insiders, but didn’t see commercial success until the release of the album Nick of Time, her tenth album, in 1989. Featuring some great songs (“Thing Called Love,” “Have a Heart,” “Nick of Time”), it earned the Grammy for Album of the Year, and Raitt won both Best Female Pop and Best Female Rock Performances.
But it was her follow-up, Luck of the Draw, that produced her signature song, the hauntingly beautiful “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Great American Things, January 15, 2010). Raitt has now earned a total of nine Grammy awards. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.