Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday "mie"-ography

Many of you recognize the woman I chose today. This is, of course, Bonnie Raitt.
I've been a long time fan of hers for many years. Her father, John, is a musician himself, a Broadway singer. Her mother, Marge, is an accomplished singer and piano player.
She was raised in Los Angeles, taught to respect the arts, the families Quaker traditions, and learned a commitment to Social Activism at a very young age.
Her father gave her a Stella Guitar for Christmas when she was eight years old. She was passionate about her music, but, she never thought of it more than just a growing interest.
She grew restless in the late 60's, and moved east, to Cambridge, Mass. She began to attend Harvard/Radcliffe, with a major in Social Relations and African Studies. She also immersed herself in the cultural, political, and musical happenings in the area. Another factor? "The ratio of guys to girls at Harvard was 4:1".
She'd heard an album at 14 that had increased her interest in blues, and slide guitar, "Blues at Newport, 1963". Between her classes at Harvard, she explored local coffee house gigs looking for more. Three years after starting college, she left it, wanting now to commit herself full time to the music.
Shortly after that, she found herself opening for, and learning from, some of the greats, like Muddy Waters, Sippie Wallace, Jon Lee Hooker, and Son House, just to name a few.
Her reputation grew quickly, the young, red haired blueswoman, with her uncanny insight into blues guitar. Warner Brothers gave her a record deal, and in 1971, she debuted her first album, "Bonnie Raitt". Over the next seven years, she would record six more of them.
In between constant touring, she was also giving benefits, and speaking out in support of the causes of her times. She campaigned to stop the war in Central America, participated in the Sun City anti-apartheid project, the No Nukes project, Musicians United for Safe Energy, and for the rights of women, and Native Americans. In 1987, she went to Moscow, and performed in the first joint Soviet/American peace concert.
In 1989, she found herself a member of Capitol Records. In 1990, she won four Grammy's, including one she got for a duet with Jon Lee Hooker.
She then released four more albums, and toured them. After that, she decided she needed a break. She took some time of, and spent it biking, hiking, doing yoga, and traveling for fun, instead of work. She still continued her activism, and also guested on albums of her many friends. In 1996, she got another Grammy for her instrumental collaboration on "SRV Shuffle", from an all star tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. She also performed with her father, John, on his album "Broadway Legend."
In 1998, she came back to the studio to do another album, called Fundamental. This one was a different sort of music for her, as it was inspired by the music of Zimbabwe.
March 2000 saw her inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. In June of 2001, she and her father were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl hall of fame. Over the years, Bonnie has guested on over 100 album projects. During the decade, she continued to release more albums of her own, including a "Best Of" collection. In 2005, she lost both of her parents, her Mom to alzheimers disease, her father to a "prolonged illness". Her older brother was also diagnosed with brain cancer, for which he is in remission for.
She was married to actor Michael O'Keefe from 1991-1999.
She's released 18 albums of her own, so far in her career, and, as I mentioned, been a "guest" on more than 100 others, and she is still going strong.
You'll have to excuse me now, though, because I want to go listen to her wonderful music!
Happy Friday to you all


sybil law said...

I loves me some Bonnie Raitt!

MM said...

Fantastic guitarist. Good choice. :)

Kathy said...

Bonnie is one of my heroes - socially, politically AND musically!! I will not miss a concert that comes within 100 miles of home. Thanks for this deserving tribute to her and her music.

mielikki said...

Syb- she loves you, too! I am sure of it

MM she is fabulous, isn't she? I was playing her music as I wrote this

Kathy-welcome. Glad you liked it. Bonnie is not to be missed...

holly said...

all i did was take one look at the photo and "something to talk about" started up in my head. i love it, but sadly, that is the only song of hers i know. i will try harder.

Daryl E said...

I LOVE Bonnie Raitt . I use Something To Talk About as the ringtone for my gal pals!