Bonnie Raitt makes a remarkable comeback on the Billboard charts this week following her surprise win at the Grammys a little more than a week ago. Since the show, fans have been rushing to listen to and buy her newly-honored tune “Just Like That,” which was largely unknown before its moment in the spotlight.
The singer-songwriter’s song “Just Like That” debuts at the top of Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales ranking this frame thanks to a surge in interest in the cut. The unexpected success grants Raitt her second No. 1 hit on any Billboard list, and it marks the first time she has topped a sales chart. “Just Like That” also marks Raitt’s third career top 10 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart.
The 2023 Grammys was a surprising moment for Raitt, who was not predicted to take home the Song of the Year trophy by most music industry experts. Her nomination, let alone the win, came as a shock to many. “Just Like That” became Raitt’s second big win in the “big four” categories, the first being Album of the Year in 1990 for her full-length Nick of Time.
Raitt’s Song of the Year win has helped “Just Like That” make its way onto various charts, including the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, Hot Rock Songs, and the all-genre Digital Song Sales lists. The success of the single has brought Raitt her first top 10 win and just her second placement on the Digital Song Sales chart. This fact is not entirely shocking, as the chart was introduced after Raitt’s heyday, when MP3 sales became popular.
Raitt’s success with “Just Like That” marks just the second time she has topped a Billboard chart. The first instance of her running the show was back in 1998, when her single “One Belief Away” reached the No. 1 spot on the Adult Alternative Airplay ranking.
The newly-honored song was first released on Raitt’s album of the same name, which came out in 2022. In addition to claiming Song of the Year, “Just Like That” won the Best American Roots Song category, while her other track “Made Up Mind” took home the Best Americana Performance Grammy. In order to claim Song of the Year, Raitt’s single beat out several high-profile nominees such as Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” Adele’s “Easy on Me,” Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” and even Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.”
For my wife’s birthday, we went to the Bonnie Raitt show at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
As we entered, staff told us that taking photos or video was prohibited at this performance. And once through security, paper signs said:
Out of respect to the artist, there is to be absolutely …
NO Video Recording
NO Audio Recording
Thank you for your cooperation!!!
As we headed to our seats, we talked about how this was surprising, because it seems to buck the trend of concerts being a sea of people holding up their phones, taking selfies and posting something to social media before the encore even ends.
There was a time, in the prehistoric days before cellphones, when artists zealously fought to prohibit unofficial photos or recordings. Some still do. But at some point many musicians not only gave up, they embraced the idea of fans using their phones to basically create free, crowdsourced marketing.
So we thought it was interesting that Bonnie Raitt had gone the other direction and prohibited it. We figured maybe she long ago reached the point in her career where she doesn’t need to create a buzz. She just needs to say she’s going to show up somewhere with her guitar and voice and, as was the case at The Amp, the seats will fill.
I would share some video of that but … I adhered to the rules. Most people did.
A woman a couple of seats from us did record a bit of “Angel from Montgomery.” But for the most part, people didn’t use their phone to record anything. For the most part, even though some use of phones was allowed — for instance, you could text someone — people weren’t looking at their phones.
They were looking at the stage.
It turns out that’s why Bonnie Raitt has these rules for her shows.
It wasn’t until the end of the show that we realized this. As she and band members took their bows, she thanked everyone for coming, for not being glued to their phones, and said — I’m paraphrasing because, again, I wasn’t recording — something like, “It’s really nice to see your faces.”
I’ve been thinking about how this ever since then, how it made the show more enjoyable, partly because I wasn’t sitting behind a bunch of people holding up their photos — but maybe also partly because I wasn’t doing it?
That’s right. I’d like to point a finger at others, but I’m too busy trying to take a photo.
I realized that it would be a bit hypocritical for me to say people should just put away their phones and enjoy the experience. When Mia was doing plays at the JCA, I spent countless hours recording shows with what now seems like an ancient video camera. To be respectful of others, I almost always did it from the back of the room. And I think I always told myself that the act of the recording kept me engaged in the performance. But did it?
When I go backpacking, even if I’m completely disconnected from cell and wifi, I’m constantly pulling out my phone or camera, trying to capture the landscape, the light, the moment. So am I living in that moment? Maybe.
The Bonnie Raitt show made me think about that. If she didn’t have that rule, would I have taken some photos and video? Probably.
‘An unplugged, real-life experience’
Raitt is hardly the only artist trying to keep people off their phones.
Some still do it for control of what makes it outside the venue (Beyonce). But others do it for what happens inside it. Jack White, the former frontman of White Stripes, might be one of the most ardent anti-phone disciples.
He once told Rolling Stone magazine that people can’t even clap anymore “because they’ve got a (expletive) texting thing in their (expletive) hand.”
The solution for him: use lockable pouches from Yondr, a San Francisco tech company, to create “phone-free shows.”
Before White came to the Amp in September, a note to ticket buyers told them that the Yondr pouches would be distributed to all patrons as they entered, so that they could have “an unplugged, real-life experience.”
If people wanted to use their phone at any time, they could head to “Phone Use Areas” on the concourse. But when they were in their seats, the phones had to stay locked in the pouches.
“Why are you doing this and is it mandatory?” said one of the concert FAQs. “We believe this creates a better experience for everyone & yes, it’s non-negotiable.”
We had to do something similar when we went to a comedy club in New York earlier this year. But I’m guessing that it was for the old-fashioned reason — comics trying out material didn’t want it to end up out there on YouTube the next day.
You might think that what White does would lead to blowback, especially from audiences that typically skew younger than for a Bonnie Raitt show. But it turns out people of all ages seem to appreciate putting away their bleeping texting thing and having an unplugged, real-life experience.
Tap dancer Savion Glover has compromise: a photo minute
While some places — Broadway theaters, for instance — routinely restrict cell phone usage, many venues now allow it. To a degree.
Numa Saisselin, president of The Florida Theatre, said their official house policy is to allow photo and video taken discreetly from your seat with a smart phone. No cameras or flash photography. No full-size tablets held aloft.
But from his viewpoint, this isn’t just a matter of blocking someone else’s view.
“Speaking personally,” he said, “what I like about going to a show is allowing the show experience to take my mind somewhere else, and that’s not going to happen when you’re handling a phone.”
If the artist asks them to prohibit cell phones, they do. Saisselin will mention this during his curtain speech and, he says, they usually have 100 percent compliance.
Some artists go to the other extreme and actually encourage taking photos and video all night. And then there’s the compromise of choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover.
“His concern is bright lights,” Saisselin said. “They’re actually dangerous for dancers. You don’t want to be blinded mid-leap.”
So Glover makes a speech at the start of the show. He tells the audience that at the start of Act II, the whole company will strike a pose for a minute. And during that minute, people take all the photos they want.
That basically is what happened at the end of the Bonnie Raitt show. After the final song, as Raitt and her band took their bows and acknowledged the crowd, quite a few people took out their phones and snapped a photo or two. And at this point, she didn’t seem to mind.
It turns out Raitt has been doing this for a while. In 2014, Peter Cooper — a country singer, songwriter and music journalist — wrote a piece for The Tennessean with a headline, “Put phones away and enjoy show.” In it, he described going to a show at The Troubadour, with a few hundred people crammed into the legendary West Hollywood club. Beforehand, the audience was asked to put their phones away and “watch this show in 3-D.” Not everyone did.
“When Raitt walked onstage, a man who was five feet away from her raised his cellphone,” Cooper wrote. “She slayed him with a brutal glance and a finger-wag, and he and his phone disintegrated instantly into dust. It was cool, and special to see. Wish I’d taken a video of that.”
HAMILTON TONWNSHIP — The Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary in Mays Landing has received recognition from legendary rock/blues performer Bonnie Raitt, the farm posted on its social media accounts Sunday.
On Facebook and Instagram, the shelter expressed gratitude to Raitt for her comments.
“Bonnie, thank you,” Funny Farm wrote. “Who knew that 600 animals that for the most part, no one else wanted, could bring so much happiness to people all over the world, including to our friend Bonnie Raitt?”
In an article by Jon Bream from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Raitt said one of her favorite ways to relax and unwind was by watching animal videos.
How does Bonnie Raitt ease the pain in fraught times? By singing songs and watching animal videos
The pain in Bonnie Raitt‘s voice was palpable over the phone. Not the I-Can’t-Make-You-Love-Me agony, but the life-as-we-know-it-is-getting-so-hard suffering. The reversal of Roe v. Wade for women’s rights, the war in Ukraine, voting rights restrictions, the murder of George Floyd, climate change and the surge in gun violence, among other things, have rankled the longtime activist for progressive causes.
“The ones [animal videos] that get me the most are the unlikely pairing of friendships of animals,” Raitt, a 10-time Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, said in the article published in July.
She cited a report by “CBS Sunday Morning,” which featured footage of animals roaming free and bonding at Funny Farm.
“By the end of it, my oxytocin level was up to the level of what Grateful Dead fans must feel like at the end of the show,” Raitt said in the article.
Raitt is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who is best known for her folk, blues, country and pop works. One of her most popular albums, “Nick of Time,” earned her three Grammy Awards including Album of the Year in 1990.
“Bonnie, you have a personal invitation to visit the Funny Farm Rescue and Sanctuary for a personal tour with Laurie,” the post read, referring to Laurie Zaleski, who owns and operates the animal shelter on her wooded property off Route 40.
The sanctuary cares for various types of animals, including many that are surrendered for reasons of abuse or neglect.
GALLERY: Tito’s Block to Block gives Funny Farm in Mizpah a makeover
Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary teamed up with Love, Tito’s Block to Block to make over the farm Friday morning. The makeover focused on growing produce sold to the community with 100% of proceeds going back toward the animals and the charity, according to a news release. (Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary / Provided)
Jazz and blues fests are everywhere now, and Americana is going strong on college radio. What I'm hearing is an appreciation of real music.
I speak my mind and come from a place of conscience, as well as have fun as a musician.
I don't know if I'm a heroine; I'm just somebody that can cheer the troops by singing to folks, and have receptions after the show, and tithe a dollar of every ticket sale for all kinds of different great charities and social action groups.
Quakers are known for wanting to give back. Ban the bomb and the civil rights movement and the native American struggle for justice - those things were very, very front-burner in my childhood, as were the ideas of working for peace and if you have more than you need, then you share it with people who don't.
The consolidation of the music business has made it difficult to encourage styles like the blues, all of which deserve to be celebrated as part of our most treasured national resources.
I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
I grew up in Los Angeles in a Quaker family, and for me being Quaker was a political calling rather than a religious one.
I just play the music that I love with musicians that I respect, and fortunately, I'm in a position where people are willing to play with me, and perhaps I can do something to help them.
I never saw music in terms of men and women or black and white. There was just cool and uncool.
Solar power is the last energy resource that isn't owned yet - nobody taxes the sun yet.
Religion is for those who are scared of hell, and spirituality is for those who have been there.
Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
Bandana Blues is and will always be a labor of love. Please help Spinner deal with the costs of hosting & bandwidth. Visit www.bandanablues.com and hit the tipjar. Any amount is much appreciated, no matter how small. Thank you.
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2, the anticipated new John Prine tribute record from Oh Boy Records, is out today. Stream/purchase HERE.
Created as a celebration of Prine’s life and career, the album features new renditions of some of Prine’s most beloved songs performed by Brandi Carlile (“I Remember Everything”), Tyler Childers (“Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You”), Iris DeMent (“One Red Rose”), Emmylou Harris (“Hello In There”), Jason Isbell (“Souvenirs”), Valerie June (“Summer’s End”), Margo Price (“Sweet Revenge”), Bonnie Raitt (“Angel From Montgomery”), Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (“Pretty Good”), Amanda Shires (“Saddle in the Rain”), Sturgill Simpson(“Paradise”) and John Paul White (“Sam Stone”). Proceeds from the album will benefit twelve different non-profit organizations, one selected by each of the featured artists.
Bonnie Raitt - Write Me a Few of Your Lines/Kokomo Blues
60 years anniversary celebration of Arhoolie
December 10, 2020
Arhoolie Foundation celebrates it's 60th anniversary (1960-2020) with an online broadcast.
Bonnie Raitt - Shadow of Doubt
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
October 3, 2020
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass celebrates it's 20th anniversary with an online broadcast titled “Let The Music Play On”.
Bonnie Raitt & Boz Scaggs - You Don't Know Like I Know
Farm Aid 2020 On the Road
Sam & Dave classic written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt - Everything Is Broken
[Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2019]
Eric Clapton, one of the world’s pre-eminent blues/rock guitarists, once again summoned an all-star team of six-string heroes for his fifth Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2019. Held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, the two-day concert event raised funds for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, the chemical dependency treatment and education facility that Clapton founded in 1998.
'A Tribute To Mose Allison'
Celebrates The Music Of An Exciting Jazz Master
Raitt contributed to a new album, If You're Going To The City: A Tribute To Mose Allison, which celebrates the late singer and pianist, who famously blended the rough-edged blues of the Mississippi Delta with the 1950s jazz of New York City.
NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Bonnie Raitt about her friendship with the Mose Allison. They're also joined by Amy Allison — his daughter, who executive produced the album — about selecting an unexpected list of artists to contribute songs to the album.
Recorded on tour June 3, 2017 - Centennial Hall, London - Ontario Canada