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Bonnie Raitt attends the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at MSG – NY

on October 30, 2009 1 comment
I’d like to introduce to you my favorite singer in the world and i’m totally serious…is she there?… miss Bonnie Raitt
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If there was a single word that summed up the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert Thursday night, it was “legacy.” Backstage, artist after artist spoke of the importance of musical heritage, emphasizing the icons who influenced them as they delivered awe-struck commentary on the show’s spectacular moments.

The parade of praise wouldn’t have been so remarkable if the artists in question were up and comers, but the backstage guests included David Crosby, Smokey Robinson and James Taylor. The accolades started early, when Tom Hanks, whose company is producing the HBO version of the shows, dropped a coy reference to the contraband Rolling Stones film Cocksucker Blues and added, “We grew up listening to these songs in the front room with the Hi-Fi on. This is the music of our generation. This is the soundtrack of our lives.”

He wasn’t kidding. Over the course of the night, the backstage area played out like a rock history book come to life, with every generation of pop music well represented.

“The hallways are happening, I tell ya,” gushed Bonnie Raitt. “Darlene Love and I are sharing a bathroom — it doesn’t get any better than this!”

Watch David Crosby and Graham Nash explain their love of Bonnie Raitt:

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CSN’s first guest was their longtime friend Bonnie Raitt, who Crosby called “my favorite singer in the whole world.” She did an acoustic version of “Love Has No Pride” and joined with CSN on an excellent cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” hugging the trio between songs and looking magnanimous. Next up was Jackson Browne on “The Pretender,” and then James Taylor for “Mexico.” The entire California crew joined together at the end of CSN’s set for a sing-along “Teach Your Children.”

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“There’s too much to actually remember what’s going on,” agreed Jackson Browne. “I was watching a guy backstage sitting next to Stevie Wonder when I realized, ‘Oh my God, it’s Smokey Robinson.’ ” Browne and Raitt had just shared the stage with Crosby Stills and Nash, as had James Taylor, who said, “I remember I was in a band downtown in the West Village in 1966 when their album came out. When we heard that band we said, ‘Man that’s it. Those guys have got it.’ ”

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Stephen Stills, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash during Crosby, Stills and Nash’s performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert, where David Crosby called Raitt his “favorite singer in the world” at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on October 29, 2009.

Other performers were more reserved. “I truthfully don’t take awards very seriously,” said David Crosby. “My dad won an Oscar — he was a cinematographer — and he used to use it for a doorstop. It gave me a healthy sort of cynicism about all of this. But there is something else involved here: when people whose music I’ve played 1,000 times are up there singing or playing, I can’t help but be moved by being in their company — these are my heroes.”

John Legend was equally humbled by his company. He shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, first covering Marvin Gaye’s timeless “Mercy, Mercy Me,” then joining Wonder in a tribute to Michael Jackson on “The Way You Make Me Feel.” “It was very powerful to see someone who came up the same time as Michael, experienced the same ups and downs as Michael, to see him mourn his passing onstage in front of thousands of people,” said Legend, recalling the first time the two had paid tribute to Jackson at a concert in Milwaukee at the beginning of the summer. “His emotion for Michael was very heartfelt, and I was just happy to be there with him and celebrate Michael’s legacy.” Legend was in the middle of a full night — just a few hours earlier, he’d performed the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium before the second game of the World Series. “I feel like the luckiest kid in the world to be able to do both the Yankee game and to be here with these amazing artists,” he said.

Thursday also saw another noteworthy collaboration — the reunion of Simon and Garfunkel. The two had recently performed a string of international shows together, but have yet to schedule any additional dates stateside. When asked about the prospects for a continuation of the reunion, Garfunkel was cautions. “[The idea is] always sort of floating around — and these days it’s floating around — but we have no such plans yet. Actually, forget I said the word ‘yet.’ ”

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Bonnie Raitt, Steven Van Zandt and Jackson Browne backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on October 29, 2009.

And while musical concerns reigned supreme, many artists spoke of a higher political purpose for their work. “Rebellion is lifelong, man,” said Jackson Browne. “Defiance is a lifelong thing.” Tom Morello added, ‘”When music pushes the boundaries and gets under people’s skin is when it’s important. … I’ve been a fan of Bruce Springsteen’s music for decades, but the social commentary and the commitment to the working man and to the average person that is both in his work and in his life, is something that I admire very much as an artist, so it’s an honor to be able to play with him.”

For more on the ties between rock and rebellion, watch Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and James Taylor in our backstage video:

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Despite the roster of all-star Hall of Fame talent, the night wasn’t all about looking back. When, at the start of the night, Hanks was asked for his favorite song of the year, he thought for a moment and then giddily started singing: “Da-da-da-da ring on it, da-da-da-da ring on it” — offering perhaps a preview of a collaboration that might occur should Beyoncé be inducted in 2024.

Rolling Stone will be back on the scene tonight for the second epic Rock Hall concert. Get our latest updates direct from Madison Square Garden on Twitter (keep an eye out for #rockhall25):


Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone
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Bonnie Raitt has performed on the Grammys stage nine times, giving her the distinction of having the most performances at the ceremony by a female artist. With eight performances apiece, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin are both tied for second-most Grammy performances by a female artist. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
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MOST GRAMMY PERFORMANCES BY A FEMALE ARTIST

Bonnie Raitt has performed on the Grammys stage nine times, giving her the distinction of having the most performances at the ceremony by a female artist. With eight performances apiece, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin are both tied for second-most Grammy performances by a female artist. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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2 months ago

Once again John's January 29th birthday is celebrated with advance news of the release of another album from Stage Door Records. More information will be posted as soon as dates and availability are set.
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3 months ago

From BRHQ - Join Bonnie on Fri, Jan 15, at 7pm PT/10pm ET for the FREE encore live stream celebration “Love You Madly - A Streaming Event for Santa Cruz Fire Relief”. Steve Earle, Bonnie Raitt & Boz Scaggs, Sammy Hagar (The Red Rocker), Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Joe Satriani, Los Lobos, Colin Hay and dozens more are joining to help friends and fans in Santa Cruz who need our help in recovering from 2020's historic devastating wildfires. Tune in at 2nu.gs/LoveYouMadly, donate at www.cfscc.org/loveyoumadly, and see more videos at santacruzfirerelief.org ~Get a reminder about the stream here: fb.me/e/1Sesjf1Ra #LoveYouMadly #SantaCruzFireRelief ... See MoreSee Less

4 months ago

Bonnie Raitt: “One person on a guitar or slide guitar is such a mournful lonely sound, like a human voice, that can express so many different emotions from longing to sexual heat to aching and betrayal,” Raitt said in a recent telephone interview. “The guitar is a very expressive instrument in general and there was something about the starkness and soulfulness and the dark night of the soul.”
Raitt, whose father was actor and Broadway star John Raitt, said she would listen to blues albums that her brother would bring home from college, along with Mississippi John Hurt and Mississippi Fred McDowell. In a twist of fate, she ended up traveling with McDowell early in her career.

“He had a style of Delta blues guitar and slide playing and there was something about his soulfulness and the rhythm that he played and his touch on the guitar just really got me,” she said.

“It wasn’t all about your looks or having a hit single back in the late ’70s when I started otherwise I would have never gotten a shot at it because I had no interest in being a big pop mainstream star,” Raitt said. “I just played guitar and wanted to play in folk music clubs and have a small modest following.”
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