Rita Coolidge – A Symphonic Evening
RITA COOLIDGE’S IMPACT IS UNDIMINISHED—HER VOICE AS PURE, SWEET AND POWERFUL AS EVER, AND HER ABILITY TO GET INSIDE A SONG HONED BY EXPERIENCE AND OVERVIEW.
Rita’s credentials are the stuff of legend. After earning a degree in art at Florida State University, the Tennessee native decided to give music a shot before settling into a career as an art teacher. She moved to Memphis and was soon singing jingles, demos and background vocals for a number of area bands. Among them was a husband and wife duo, Delaney & Bonnie. When the pair signed their record deal, Rita suddenly found herself on big-time pop music’s leading edge. Her reputation as an A-list backup singer spread quickly. Joe Cocker enlisted her in that role and as a featured soloist on his Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. (Rita performed a song she’d co-written, ″Superstar,″ which would later be a huge hit for The Carpenters.) Work with other rock royalty followed, including tours and recordings with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and Stephen Stills. In 1971, A&M Records moguls Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss signed her to the label, and one of the most enduring solo careers in all of music was underway.
Rita released more than a dozen albums in the years to follow, including 1978’s multi-platinum Anytime… Anywhere. Several of her singles would become classics; ″We’re All Alone,″ ″Higher And Higher″ and ″The Way You Do The Things You Do″ all qualify as ″career″ songs. She’s performed with high-profile pals like George Harrison, Roger Waters, Robbie Robertson and Jimmy Buffett. In 1973, Rita married singer, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson. During their eight-year union the pair teamed up for a number of hits and was twice named Country Duo of the Year. Her ″Love Came For Me″ appeared on the soundtrack of the movie Splash, ″All Time High″ was the theme 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.″