Happy Birthday Bonnie Raitt!

Happy Birthday Bonnie Raitt!

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Think girls can’t play guitar?  Think again.  Bonnie Raitt is one of the best slide-guitarists out there.

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As a young scholar at Radcliffe College, Bonnie left school to hang around the blues greats instead. And what an education she got. She befriended slide-god Mississippi Fred McDowell and picked up his secrets along the way. As a result she’s highly respected among the best of them. Taj Mahal is a living legend of blues guitar—he’s known Bonnie for a long time. 

Taj Mahal:

“Bonnie Raitt has been one of the perhaps most solid woman musicians that have been out there for a long time.  When I first heard her, she was really playing the stuff and really playing with the people and knew everybody and took a great lead from Fred McDowell and really hung out a lot with Fred and learned a tremendous amount from him and then developed it into her own style, which was for me very exciting, because a lot of people develop and they tend to regurgitate and copy.  She’s the type of person that’s concerned, is extremely loyal, and really understands what the deal is and she’s not just narrow in her scope about music.  She listens to a lot of different music and has the ability to play as a musician. “

[Bonnie Raitt—Walkin’ Blues] [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119190032" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Bonnie Raitt Backstage

Bonnie Raitt was born November 8, 1949 in Burbank, California. She started playing guitar at an early age. In 1967, Bonnie entered Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA to major in social relations and African studies. In her sophomore year, she got swept up in the Cambridge folk scene, and met blues scholar and promoter Dick Waterman. She promptly left school and moved to Philadelphia with Waterman and a number of musicians. It was then that she met newly-discovered bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell. They developed a deep friendship, and Mississippi Fred took it upon himself to teach her to play bottleneck slide. Bonnie was discovered at a 1970 Gaslight Café show, in which she opened for Mississippi Fred.

Bonnie released a number of albums to critical acclaim throughout the seventies. Her real commercial breakthrough came, however, in 1977. Since then Bonnie has been a perennial favorite. Shattering all the barriers that seem to hold back female guitarists. She was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. She’s listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, as well as the 100 greatest singers of all time.

Bonnie has been a champion for the recognition of her mentors. She has personally financed the headstones for legendary blues musicians like Memphis Minnie, Tommy Johnson, Sam Chatmon and Mississippi Fred.

Bonnie Raitt Love me like a Man 1976: