Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt (Capitol, 1989)
Bonnie Lynn Raitt released her debut, self-titled album in 1971. Though she received much critical acclaim, record sales were modest. It wasn’t until 1977 that she finally scored a minor hit with the cover of Runaway (originally done by Del Shannon) off her sixth album Sweet Forgiveness. The strength of the single started a bidding war for Raitt between Columbia and Warner Brothers. Ultimately, she stayed with Warner Brothers when they matched Columbia’s bid. In 1983, after two albums of modest sales, Raitt was dropped by Warner Brothers. Also at this time she was suffering with alcohol and drug abuse.
In 1989, Raitt released her tenth album, Nick of Time and her career finally hit the big time. In 1990, with a three Grammy sweep (including Album of the Year), it went to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. (Consequently, Raitt acknowledged that this was her “first sober album.”) Nick of Time ended up selling five million copies.
Her follow-up album the next year, Luck of the Draw saw Raitt take a creative retreat to Northern California in an attempt to prove that the commercial success of Nick of Time was not just a fluke. And it wasn’t. Luck of the Draw brought Raitt three more Grammys, a #2 selling album, a Top 5 hit (Something to Talk About), a Top 20 single (I Can’t Make You Love Me peaked at #18) and a Top 40 hit (Not the Only One peaked at #34). Luck of the Draw ended up selling 8 million copies.
These two albums solidified her place in music history. In March 2000 Raitt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.