|RITA COOLIDGE BIOGRAPHY
An eternal star in the galaxy of rock and roll, the two-time Grammy winner, Rita Coolidge, has proven herself an enduring talent, blessed with radiant Native American beauty and what has been described as "the sexiest voice in the world." Having shared the stage with such rock legends as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, Coolidge reveals an entirely different, yet equally wondrous persona in her latest musical venture.
With her new Innerworks album, "Thinkin' About You," Rita gives longtime fans and new listeners reason to celebrate. Her signature stylistic blend is timeless. Elements of R&B, rock and pop, all delivered in the unmistakable voice that's made her one of popular music's elite. The London Times noted that Coolidge's vocals are "every bit as pure as they were two decades ago."
Born in Lafayette, Tennessee, near Nashville, Rita Coolidge became the youngest of four children for whom music was a first language, even before English. Her parents -- a Baptist minister and a teacher who played the organ in church -- immersed Coolidge and her sisters in the traditional hymns of the choir, yet she also found inspiration in modern soul and R&B.
Her ability as a songwriter flourished in college, where she performed in several folk and rock bands. She earned her degree in art from Florida State University, but before pursuing what she thought would be a career as an art teacher, Coolidge gave herself one year in Memphis to see if she might have a future in music. Almost immediately it was apparent that she would. Delaney & Bonnie and Friends asked her to join them on the road as a back-up singer.
Coolidge toured the U.S. and Europe, where she met and became lifelong friends with Eric Clapton and Leon Russell (who wrote Joe Cocker's "Delta Lady" as a tribute to her). Coolidge recalls one performance in 1970 at the Royal Albert Hall with four guitarists on stage: Delaney Bramlett, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, and George Harrison. The inimitable Joe Cocker, readying his famed Mad Dogs Englishmen tour, next asked her to join him as featured soloist, performing her own "Superstar," a single which later became a signature tune for The Carpenters. Other tours followed, including tours and recordings with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, and Stephen Stills.
At the end of the tour, Coolidge was signed by A&M Records, launching a recording career and the creation of a dozen albums. Among them was Rita's 1978 multi-platinum disc Anytime ...Anywhere, which featured three of her biggest singles -- "Higher & Higher," "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and "We're All Alone." In1973, Coolidge married singer, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson and, though the marriage lasted but eight years, produced a daughter Casey, two Grammy Awards for Best Duo and twice named Country Duo of the Year.
A truly international star, Coolidge also came to the attention of Hollywood as evidenced by her theme songs for two box office hits of the 1980's: "Love Came For Me" for Splash, "All Time High" for the James Bond thriller Octopussy and "Heart Don't Fail Me Now" (with Lee Greenwood) was used as a recurring theme for the CBS daytime drama, "As The World Turns." When the cable music channel VH1 debuted, she was also one of its original "veejays."
Coolidge's commitment to social issues has reverberated through her music and her life. Over the years she has given concerts, led rallies and written songs for such issues as teen suicide, AIDS and homelessness (reflected in her solo album Love Lessons and her recent contribution to the anthology fund raising album, In Harmony With The Homeless). Yet her most heartfelt commitment remains to the Native American community. In addition to her solo album Cherokee and her recent work with Robbie Robertson on Music For The Native Americans (a project broadcast by TBS as a six-part special), she is currently working on another such album joined by her sister and niece. Rita Coolidge also had another prideful opportunity to represent her nations -- both Cherokee and United States -- performing a tribute to Native American music and dance during the festivities of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA.
With the millennium just around the corner, Rita Coolidge's impact is undiminished -- her voice as pure, sweet and powerful as ever, her ability to get inside a song honed by experience and overview. Rita summarized it best when she said "it's good to know that people who like what I do for all these years still like what I do, and at the same time it sounds good to people who weren't even born when I started out. How can you ask for more than that?"