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Bonnie Raitt, Musical Artist

Updated on December 28, 2014

Bonnie Raitt: Guitarist, Vocalist, Songwriter and Activist Extraordinaire!

Beautiful Bonnie Raitt is a best-selling musical artist, highly respected guitarist, an expressive vocalist, and winner of TEN grammies!

Not only is Bonnie is an accomplished songwriter, entertainer, and American music shero, she also is dedicated as a political activist.

In April of 2012, for the first time in SIX years... Bonnie came back with her 'Slipstream' tour. Bonnie Raitt finally returned after a long break from the music world. Her fans have missed her.


Welcome back Bonnie Raitt!


image: amazon

Bonnie Raitt paid her dues to sing the Blues

...and folk and gospel and jazz and rock and roll!

Bonnie is BACK! - April 2012 Bonnie Raitt and her "Slipstream" Concert Tour!

Bonnie Raitt released her first album in six years in April of 2012. "Slipstream' is said by some to be Bonnie's best tour ever. Bonnie Raitt now has her own new label, Redwing, and featured cover songs by Bob Dylan, Joe Henry and also a reggae version of the late Gerry Rafferty's hit "Right Down the Line."

Slipstream marks a return to the spotlight for Bonnie, who took an extended break from performing music after the death of her mother, her brother and her best friend. Bonnie fans are excited - Bonnie is BACK!

Which Bonnie CD is your favorite?

See results

Popular Bonnie Raitt CDs - This is only a partial list of Bonnie's releases through the years. Got a favorite Bonnie CD from this list of the most popular?

I remember listening to 'Give it Up' and 'Road Tested' when I was in college (on LP vinyl albums - at full blast) over and over again. I have all of her CDs now, and it would be hard to pick a favorite (except Greatest Hits).

Bonnies's latest release of 'Slipstream' in 2012 was her 19th album. Below are some of the most popular out of those 19 releases. Please vote for YOUR favorite.

"This is an election year not an auction year. It's time to get money out of politics."

— Bonnie Raitt, 2012

Bonnie Raitt as a Political Activist

Bonnie supports coalitions and activist groups.

Bonnie is a legend as not only musician, but as an outstanding human being and political activist. Raitt's web site urges fans to learn more about preserving the environment. Her activities as a political activist are many and varied.

Bonnie helped launch the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in order to protect the rights of veteran R&B musicians. She started the Bonnie Raitt Guitar Project to provide instruments and lessons to underprivileged youths with Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Bonnie has also been a longtime supporter of anti-nuclear efforts. She performed in the original 'No Nukes' benefit concert in 1979, and again at the anniversary reunion show in the Bay Area, along with Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash and others.

Bonnie is a generous and caring soul who respects the coalition between the musician community and the activist community. During her "Slipstream" tour in 2012, Bonnie dedicated John Prine's song "Angel from Montgomery" to her late mother Marge. Her mother had helped helped fuel a lifelong interest in political activism.

The Return of the Blues Baroness

More recently, Bonnie has been sympathetic to the Occupy movement activism protests.

Bonnie gets more interesting as you get a peek into what makes her tick. She's a class act and its in her blood to put herself out there and be of service as a political activist and supporter of musical arts.

When asked "What were you dreaming for the future ... What are you looking forward to down the line? in an interview titled "Bonnie Rait: The Return of the Blues Baroness", Bonnie replied,

"The whole Occupy movement has given me some hope that, across party lines, newer generations will rise up and ask for accountability and transparency and reform some of these laws. That is my first dream-to see people become more awake and compassionate. My dream is to be a service in that struggle and to not get discouraged.

One of the great things about playing live-besides being fun-is that we can buoy the troops, in terms of raising money and awareness for these issues. I want to enlist more artists to be politically active to make a difference. It's that marriage of music and being of service. My heroes are of the "The Times They Are a-Changin'" period-like Bob Dylan."


Did you know? When Fender celebrated their 50th anniversary, Bonnie Raitt was the first female ever to be awarded a stratacaster.

Bonnie Raitt & College Days

When she moved to Cambridge in the late 60's, Bonnie made this comment:

"I couldn't wait to get back to where there were folkies and the antiwar and civil rights movements," she says. "There were so many great music and political scenes going on in the late '60s in Cambridge."

Also, she adds, with a laugh, "the ratio of guys to girls at Harvard was four to one, so all of those things were playing in my mind."

Bonnie Raitt in 1977 - RUNAWAY

Gotta LOVE this video of Bonnie performing in the 70s as a very young woman!

BEST version ever of this song!

In July 2004, Bonnie drew thunderous applause at the Stockholm Jazz Festival with this comment about President George W. Bush:

"We're gonna sing this for George Bush because he's out of here, people!"

"Your Good Thing (Is About to End)"

Bonnie and her 'Souls Alike' Album

"I Will Not Be Broken" ~ Bonnie

A more recent collection 'Souls Alike' featured surprising new directions and, as she describes them, "thorny, adult themes," This music reveals an extraordinary artist who's never been content to rest on her laurels.

"You gotta do stuff that stretches you," Bonnie says. "I'd hang up my spurs if I didn't have something new to play."

Regarding "I Will Not Be Broken," the Grammy-nominated lead single from Souls Alike, Bonnie comments:

"There was an element of being pushed to the wall with what was going on in my personal life, my family crises-and then there was the election,"

"So that song was like an anthem for me, and for everybody that wants to feel like they can stand up to getting pushed around."

Early Life of Bonnie

What a beautiful lady, inside and out, the one-and-only Bonnie Raitt!

Bonnie was born into a musical family in Los Angeles, California. During the late 60s she moved to Cambridge MA and ended up back on the west coast.

As of November 8, 2013 Bonnie Raitt is 64 years young and has led a strong following of fans for over 40 years!

40 years! The lady has been rocking it for 40 years and still going strong as ever!!!

She has spoken in interviews (Parade 2012) of her current life in Marin County CA with her boyfriend of seven years (but won't 'advertize her man').

Bonnie has never limited herself to any one genre of music, she plays it all from folk to gospel and blues and jazz to hard rock and roll. She won't be limited to record labels either, and now produces under her very own record label. "Slipstream" was the first release for Bonnie on her own label, Red Wing Records.

Bonnie has shared the stage with so many other music greats including Jackson Browne, Bruce Hornsby, Emmy Lou Harris, Norah Jones, Melissa Etheridge, Taj Majal and many many more. Bonnie says, "Jackson Browne and Bruce Hornsby are like brothers to me. I love Bruce’s latest double-live album, Bride of the Noisemakers. If I had to be on a desert island and could only have one artist’s music, it would be Bruce Hornsby."

Bonnie Raitt in Concert 1977

Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt

This photo of Bonnie was taken in 1977 and is a favorite, even though you cannot see her gorgeous red hair. I saw Bonnie in concert that year for the first time, and has remained an avid Bonnie fan ever since. Back then you could get away with taking photos at concerts, and I've treasure this one for decades.

"The great thing about the arts, and especially popular music, is that it really does cut across genres and races and classes."

— Bonnie Raitt

The BEST of Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt and Folk Music, Blues and Jazz

Bonnie plays it all ... rock and roll, folk music, blues, jazz

When very young, Bonnie was very involved with folk music and blues...and commented:

"I'm certain that it was an incredible gift for me to not only be friends with some of the greatest blues people who've ever lived, but to learn how they played, how they sang, how they lived their lives, ran their marriages, and talked to their kids,"

she says. "I was especially lucky as so many of them are no longer with us."

Bonnie Raitt Fans Sign in Here - Something to Talk About

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    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Some of her music I like. Very interesting hub.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 3 years ago

      Great article! I love her voice and music.

    • CrossCreations profile image
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      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @TheLittleCardShop: Yes ma'am, she certainly does! Thanks for visiting Bonnie here.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Margaret Schindel: Thanks so much! Yes, I also first heard Bonnie Raitt live during the 1970s. Back then she was yet to be the well known superstar she is today. I remember listening to Bonni3 on full blast while cleaning my apartment when I was in college. Some things never change. *wink*

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 4 years ago

      Bonnie Raitt has wonderful songs :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I've loved Bonnie Raitt ever since the first time I heard her live in the 1970s, when I was at Dartmouth College and attended her awesome concert. Over the years I've seen her perform live quite a few times since then, and she's one of the best stage performers I've ever seen/heard. This is an awesome tribute lens. Blessed!

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @RichLeighHD: DO! You'll be glad you did. Bonnie ROCKS and just gets better with age.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @MaggiePowell: YES! It's not just about her music, but what Bonnie stands for and how she goes about it, a CLASS act! I was hoping she'd get some happy birthda wishes here. Thanks!

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 4 years ago

      Excellent, I'll definitely have to check out some more of her music!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

      well done! I love her voice... I love what she stands for... Happy Birthday Bonnie!

    • carolinarobin profile image

      carolinarobin 4 years ago

      Love me some Bonnie!

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      Bonnie Raitt is a classic. She continues to release great blues even after the decades she's been at it.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love Bonnie, love the lens!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Love Bonnie Raitt. I didn't know she was going back on tour but am thrilled. Can't wait to hear new and familiar tunes. Great lens.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 5 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      As a Brit, I'm not that familiar with Bonnie Raitt, but her fans will be excited to learn of her return to recording and touring, I'm sure :)

    • profile image

      LetLoveBe 6 years ago

      Friday night (7 Oct. 11), a guitarist who played with Bonnie played downtown with his wife. He was great and bluesy and when someone said he had played for Bonnie I knew why I liked him so much. And isn't it cool the way she wears her gray streak? Why can't my hair gray like that?

    • GetFactsnotHype profile image

      GetFactsnotHype 6 years ago

      Nice lens. I too published a page on blues and included Bonnie's brother in it as well as other artists. I am going to add this to my related lenses section using the discovery tool. My lens is blues-music-and-musicians here on squidoo.

    • chemrat profile image

      chemrat 6 years ago

      Lensrolled at at my women guitar players lens (squidoo.com/guitarwomen)! Great lens.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @huvalbd: Thanks for sharing this wonderful story! YES, that's what Bonnie is about.."a consummate musician with a huge heart who always gives at least as much back to the world around her as the world gives to her."

      Bonnie Raitt is so much more than a musician and entertainer. The ways she lives and gives to the world with so much more than her music make her a real shero. Bonnie is a politically active philanthropist, an angel of good will beyond one gifted musician. That gorgeous and good-hearted angel lady behind that guitar gets my ultimate respect...and by the way, I'd have given my eye teeth to be in your shoes at that Red Rock concert outside Denver. Thanks again for telling this story!

    • profile image

      huvalbd 6 years ago

      Bonnie Raitt watches the news for charitable causes she can support. When she sees one, she clips the article and has her staff look for a way to fit help for that cause into her schedule.

      I saw her at Red Rocks outside Denver, which she says is her one of her favorite concert venues. It has great acoustics, and the audience can see the lights of Denver in the distance below and behind the stage. NPR announced that a limited number of tickets were reserved at extra cost front and center to support the Bean Project. A couple of friends and I got some, so we had ideal seats for the concert. Wonderful music, and she brought along and introduced to us some of the greats who influenced her music--you don't just get entertained at her concerts, you learn too.

      Afterward, there was a reception with munchies for people with Bean Project supporter tickets. Raitt went around the room, shook hands with and briefly spoke with every one of us.

      Can't ask for anything more. A consummate musician with a huge heart who always gives at least as much back to the world around her as the world gives to her.

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      yhabe30 7 years ago

      Really a great and awesome artist.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      My favorite female singer is Bonnie, and that's saying a lot.

      She's really had a successful career and been a great example.

      This is a very cool lens!!!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Cool Tribute to Bonnie! I saw her when she was on tour with The Stones!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great tribute to a pioneering woman guitarist! Lensrolled and blessed today :)

    • profile image

      yhabe30 7 years ago

      She is a one great artist! I love all of her songs.

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    • drifter0658 lm profile image

      drifter0658 lm 7 years ago

      What can I say...love Miss Raitt! The voice is stunning, the gray streak in the red hair is captivating, the soul is beautiful.

      I saw her a few years back. She was on tour with Keb Mo...dazzling show.

    • Twmarsh profile image

      Twmarsh 7 years ago

      Great tribute to Bonnie. A nicely crafted five stars lens!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm a big Bonnie fan. I actually haven't heard anything by her in a while, though. Or maybe I'm just not listening to the "right" radio stations. But I love the old Bonnie Raitt CD's and tapes I have and never get tired of listening to them.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

      I love Bonnie Raitt's early music which I discovered when I was in college in the 70's.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love Bonnie Raitt! She is a remarkable person.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 7 years ago

      I've always thought "What a lovely voice" when I would hear her sing. This is a very nice lens. Your appreciation for her shows clearly. Though I didn't know much about her before this lens, I now have a little deeper knowledge of her. 5*s for a job well done!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      love Bonnie, love the lens.5*

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      amanda77 10 years ago

      Thank you for making such a beautiful lens about Bonnie.

    • profile image

      amanda77 10 years ago

      Thank you for making such a beautiful lens about Bonnie.

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      Pat 10 years ago from Midwest, USA

      I love Raitt's music also!