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Rock Hall Anniversary: Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 10: Bonnie Raitt performs at the UCSF Medical Center and The Painted Turtle Present A Starry Evening of Music, Comedy & Surprises at Davies Symphony Hall on March 10, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Steve Jennings

There are perhaps a lot of things that Bonnie Raitt’s tenth studio album Nick of Time could represent. But above all, it represents the long-awaited massive success that eluded her prior to its release in March 1989. Though critically acclaimed, she experienced only modest success, with the biggest being her 1977 album Sweet Forgiveness. By the mid-1980s, Raitt was at a crossroads when she was dropped from Warner Bros, following the disappointment of 1986’s Nine Lives.

But things would turn around, when Raitt moved to Capitol Records. Produced by Don Was, Nick of Time, was initially a modest success, but did yield two hit singles, the title track and “Thing Called Love”. But after winning three Grammy awards including Album of the Year, sales of the album increased tremendously. In April 1990, Nick of Time knocked Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl from the top of the charts, becoming Raitt first number one album. It would also go on to sell five million copies, and yield another notable single “Have a Heart”.

In addition to its massive success, Nick of Time was also praised by critics. And even to this day, the album is also considered Raitt’s best overall. In their updated list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all time, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 230.