Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rita Coolidge, The #86 Female Artist of the Rock Era*

Coolidge was born in Lafayette, Tennessee.  She graduated from Maplewood High School in Nashville and Florida State University.
In 1970, she met Kris Kristofferson at the Los Angeles airport while both were waiting for a flight. He got off in Memphis, Tennessee with her instead of continuing on to his originally intended destination in Nashville. The two were married in 1973 and they recorded several albums together. They won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1974 with the song "From The Bottle To The Bottom" and another in 1976 for "Lover Please".

Coolidge recorded two solo albums in 1971, a self-titled release and Nice Feelin'.  Coolidge's biggest hit was her 1973 release "A Song I'd Like To Sing" (with Kristofferson), which was a #12 hit on the Easy Listening chart.  Three more albums followed before she got her big break. 
In 1977, Rita released the album Anytime...Anywhere.  The first single from the album was a remake of Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher".  Coolidge took it higher than Jackie did, scoring a #1 smash in Canada and #2 in the U.S.

Rita's next single was a recording of the Boz Scaggs song "We're All Alone".  It shot up to #1 on the Adult chart and was #7 overall in the United States and peaked at #5 in Canada and #6 in the U.K.

Coolidge wasn't done with the album yet.  She released another cover (this one a song by the Temptations) as the next single.  Although it hit #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1978, it was a much underrated #20 overall.

Rita released her follow-up album Love Me Again, but her next single experienced similar results.  The single "You" was a #3 Adult Contemporary smash, but again an underrated #25 overall (most radio stations hadn't yet figured out that people who grew up with rock & roll were getting older...).

In 1983, Coolidge recorded a song for the James Bond movie Octopussy.  "All Time High" was a #1 Adult smash.

Coolidge continued to record studio albums through 2005 with no further big hits.  She posted six Top 40 hits with two of them reaching the Top 10, but on the more-important Adult Contemporary chart, she scored 15 hits, with six going Top 10 and two #1's.

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