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Rita Coolidge

A versatile singer blessed with a clear, pure voice, Rita Coolidge was a capable stylist in rock, pop, R&B, country, and folk, and was a hugely in-demand session vocalist outside of her own solo recording career. Born near Nashville, Tennessee, in the town of Lafayette in 1945, Coolidge was part Cherokee and first sang in the church where her father was a minister. She studied art at Florida State University, but also sang and wrote songs on the side, and decided to give music a shot before settling into teaching. She moved to Memphis after graduation and worked singing commercial jingles, sometimes with her sister, Priscilla, and soon landed a job touring with Delaney & Bonnie as a backup vocalist. She subsequently relocated to Los Angeles, where she sang on recording sessions by the likes of Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, and Joe Cocker, among others. After returning from the supporting tour for Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Coolidge landed her own solo contract with A&M.

Coolidge's self-titled debut album was released in 1971, but despite critical acclaim for it and the follow-up, Nice Feelin', she failed to break through commercially. Over the course of the next few years, she moved into country-rock and Southern California soft rock, working territory not too dissimilar from Linda Ronstadt. She also married progressive country singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson in 1973, the same year she recorded a duet album with him titled Full Moon. Full Moon topped the country charts, and "From the Bottle to the Bottom" won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group. The following year, the couple released a follow-up, Breakaway, whose "Lover Please" won them another Grammy in the same category. Coolidge finally broke through in her own right with 1977's Anytime, Anywhere, a collection of well-chosen covers with a strong R&B bent. Paced by the hit singles "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" (a Jackie Wilson cover that went to number two pop), "We're All Alone" (Top Ten), and "The Way You Do the Things You Do" (a Top 20 Temptations cover), Anytime, Anywhere climbed into the Top Ten and sold over a million copies. Coolidge and Kristofferson released one final duet album, Natural Act, in 1979, but their marriage was on the rocks, and they separated by the end of the year.

Coolidge never repeated the pop success of Anytime, Anywhere, but she did continue to land hits on the adult contemporary charts through the early '80s, including "You," "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love," and "All Time High" (the theme for the James Bond flick Octopussy). She parted ways with A&M after 1984's Inside the Fire, and spent some time away from the music business to devote herself to various social causes. She returned to recording with 1992's Love Lessons, on Critique, and went on to cut several albums for other small labels during the latter half of the '90s. Released in 1995, Cherokee, in particular, signaled a renewed interest in her Native American musical heritage, and she teamed up with her sister, Priscilla, and her niece, Laura Satterfield, to form Walela, which explored those roots in greater detail over two albums in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Several anthology collections were released in the early 2000s; And So Is Love, an album of traditional jazz standards, marked Coolidge's first release for Concord in 2005. A holiday album, A Rita Coolidge Christmas, arrived seven years later in 2012 from 429 Records. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

True American...N a t i v e . . .
O she makes me shake !
O Yea ! Lady can let it go ?
madelyncbrow n 3
Love this voice over the years...what a talent!
wow, puts so many others to shame, I can't figure out how she fell off my regular listening list.
Again! Dont like to compare Artist! AnitA Baker reminds of her!-Very Influencial! ! -
Ned Kitchel- wasn't everybody stoned in 1971?
donwilczynsk i
great------- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
full moon was the max for me at that time of my life. left an impression. Ill never forget the words to holding on. I've tried three times.
hblee67
Superstar wasn't written by Rita, but by Leon Russell. She recorded it along with many others.
The most prolific female singer-songw r i t e r ! how many people out there realize that she was the one who wrote Superstar ~ made famous by both Karen carpenter & Luther Vandross ~ and that it was about a young and yet to be well known guitarist she was touring with named Eric Clapton...
ldyrodio
...an amazing lady! Crystalline voice... :) Her crooning puts me in a reflective mood/workin' mode.
Deserved better than Kris K.
bbqdrew
so good
not sure about you guys
love ya rita
tammymillerz
Are You kidding ????.... Stoned maybe....jer k s ? I am offended.... N e d Kitchel,.... do you know of whom you speak?
I saw Rita in concert in Boulder with hubby Kris K. in 1971. They were so stoned that they were booed off the stage before intermission . No refund was offered. Jerks.
mmisound17
Love her voice ,passionate and strong.
Wow, there's a blast from my past. I love her voice! True and rich tone. She makes it sound so easy.

Whenever people go on and on about Norah JOnes, I ask if they've ever heard Rita Coolidge, whose voice is so much stronger and purer.
gvending
One of the most under-rated female vocalists. "We're All Alone" is simply magnificent. Gen-Xers and younger need to "discover" her work.
A truly gifted artist, who can make all her hours of practice sound like pure, natural talent.
I remember singing to this song over and over as her voice was very similar to mine in tonal quality. I still have the tapes from back then that I haven't gotten on CD!

Paulette Motzko
this is almost hypnotic in its vocal purity, and sensuality. She made a beleiver out of me with this powerful simple delivery of talent.
irishchrly
If I wasn't so very damned old I'd fall in love with this woman....she can sing me to sleep every evening for the next 125 years.....at which time I'll be 200 years old.....aaaa h me!

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