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Rita Coolidge (born May 1, 1945) is a multiple Grammy Award-winning Americanmarker vocalist. During the '70s and '80s, she charted hits on Billboard's Pop, Country, Adult Contemporary and Jazz charts. She is of Scottishmarker and Cherokee Native American ancestry.

Personal life

Coolidge was born in Lafayettemarker, Tennesseemarker. She graduated from Andrew Jackson Senior Highmarker in Jacksonvillemarker, Floridamarker in 1963. After high school, she attended Florida State Universitymarker, where she earned a B.A.

Coolidge married Kris Kristofferson in 1973, and they divorced in 1980. They have one daughter, Casey. Coolidge previously had romantic liaisons with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash; her leaving Stills for Nash has been cited as a contributing factor behind the initial breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. David Crosby memorialized this situation in his song "Cowboy Movie" (from the album If I Could Only Remember My Name, 1971); Coolidge is the "sweet little Indian girl" of the song. Stills has referenced his relationship with Coolidge in his work as well; he refers to her by the nickname "the Raven" in his song "Sit Yourself Down" (Stephen Stills, 1970) and similarly named one side of his first album with Manassas (Manassas, 1972) in her honor.

She now lives in Fallbrookmarker, a small town in southern Californiamarker.

She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

Early career

Coolidge began her career as a backing vocalist for artists such as Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, and Leon Russell.

Her first single was recorded in 1968, after she was discovered by former Elvis Presley Chief Personal Aide and close friend, Marty Lacker, who started a record company, Pepper Records, for a major Memphis bartering company. Lacker produced a few records for Coolidge; one, "Turn Around And Love You", became a regional hit in Los Angelesmarker and the West Coast. She then worked with Leon Russell and both became members of Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. Her performance of "Superstar" on the Cocker/Russell Mad Dogs and Englishmen album helped her gain attention.

The Delta Lady

She became known as "The Delta Lady" and inspired Leon Russell to write a song of the same name for her. It was during this time that she met Kris Kristofferson while filming Pat_Garret_and_Billy_the_Kid; the two married in 1973. With him, she recorded several duet albums which sold well, and earned them a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1974 for From the Bottle to the Bottom, and in 1976 for Lover Please.

Solo career

Rita Coolidge began her solo career as a highly in demand session vocalist, and proceeded to transition her career into the solo field.In 1977, Coolidge scored what would be her most successful album of her career, the platinum certifed Anytime...Anywhere. The album spawned many hit singles. Her first hit was " Higher and Higher," a cover of the Jackie Wilson song. Wilson's version reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts, while the Coolidge single became one of her best sellers, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1977. She followed that success with another gold certified single "We're All Alone" which reached No. 7 later that year on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and No. 1 on the Cashbox chart.

In 1979, Rita Coolidge travelled to Havanamarker, Cubamarker, to participate in the historic Havana Jam festival that took place between 2-4 March, alongside Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Weather Report, and Billy Joel, plus an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines and Orquesta Aragón. Her performance is captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's she scored other hits with "One Fine Day" (written by Carole King and a hit for the 1960s girl group the Chiffons, "Words" (The Bee Gees), "I Don't Want to Talk About It" (written by Danny Whitten), "The Way You Do the Things You Do" (The Temptations), "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love" (Carole Bayer Sager), and "You." In 1980, Coolidge was the voice of Melissa Raccoon in the Christmas Raccoons, and reprised the role for a subsequent special The Raccoons on Ice in 1981. Both of these specials served as a predecessor to the critically acclaimed Canadianmarker animated series, The Raccoons. Coolidge also sang several songs for the specials, all of which were on the 1983 album Lake Freeze

In the mid 1980s, Coolidge found success vocalizing for movie soundtracks. In 1983, she recorded the song "All Time High" for the James Bond film Octopussy. The single was one of her two #1 hits and on Billboard's Adult Contemporary charts. Coolidge also recorded the love theme from the movie Splash, "Love Came For Me."

In 1991, she recorded two Japanese pop songs, "Ame" (Rain) by Chisato Moritaka and "Rainy Blue" by Hideaki Tokunaga.

She contributed vocals on the title track from the Roger Waters album Amused To Death, released in 1992.

In 2004, Coolidge released an anthology covering her career, titled Delta Lady — The Rita Coolidge Anthology.

In 2006, Coolidge released a jazz CD, And So Is Love. That same year, she toured the United Kingdommarker on the "Once in a Lifetime Country Tour" with Don Williams and Kenny Rogers.


In 1997, Coolidge was one of the founding members of Walela, a Native American music trio, that also includes Coolidge's sister Priscilla and Priscilla's daughter Laura Satterfield. The trio released studio albums in 1997 (Walela) and 2000 (Unbearable Love), a live album and DVD (Live in Concert) in 2004 and a compilation album (The Best of Walela) in 2007. Walela means hummingbird in Cherokee.



Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US AC US Country UK Singles Chart
1969 "Turn Around and Love You" 96 single only
1972 "Fever" 76 The Lady's Not for Sale
1973 "My Crew"A 38
"Whiskey, Whiskey" 106
"A Song I'd Like to Sing" (w/ Kris Kristofferson) 49 12 92 Full Moon
1974 "Loving Arms" (w/ Kris Kristofferson) 86 25 98
"Rain" (w/ Kris Kristofferson) 44 87 Breakaway
"Mama Lou" 94 Fall Into Spring
1975 "Lover Please" (w/ Kris Kristofferson) 42 Breakaway
1977 " Higher and Higher" 2 5 48 Anytime...Anywhere
"We're All Alone" 7 1 82 6
1978 "The Way You Do the Things You Do" 20 9
"Words" 25
"You" 25 3 Love Me Again
"The Jealous Kind" 63
"Love Me Again" 68 20 83
1979 "One Fine Day" 66 15 Satisfied
"I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love" 38 3 32
1980 "Somethin' Bout You Baby I Like" (w/ Glen Campbell) 42 39 60 Somethin' Bout You Baby I Like
(Glen Campbell album)
"Fool That I Am" 46 15 72 Coast to Coast soundtrack
1981 "The Closer You Get" 103 Heartbreak Radio
1983 "All Time High" 36 1 75 Octopussy soundtrack
"Only You" 37 Never Let You Go
1984 "Something Said Love" 15 Inside the Fire

  • A B-side of "Fever"


Title Release
Label US Billboard Peak Notes
Rita Coolidge Feb 1971 A&M 105
Nice Feelin' Nov 1971 135
The Lady’s Not For Sale Oct 1972 46
Full Moon (with Kris Kristofferson) 1973 26 First duet album for Kris and Rita
Fall Into Spring Apr 1974 55 Unreleased on CD
Breakaway (with Kris Kristofferson) 1974 Monument 103 Second duet album for Kris and Rita
It’s Only Love Nov 1975 A&M 85 Unreleased on CD
Anytime...Anywhere Mar 1977 6 Limited original release on CD in Japan in early 90s only. Now available (July 8, 2008) as 2 albums on 1 CD.
Love Me Again May 1978 32
Natural Act 1978 106 Third and final duet album for Kris and Rita
Satisfied Sep 1979 95 Limited release on CD in Japan in early 90s only
Greatest Hits 1980 107
Heartbreak Radio Aug 1981 160 Unreleased on CD
Never Let You Go Oct 1983 -
Inside The Fire 1984 -
Fire Me Back 1990 Attic - CD unreleased in the US. Later available as Someday in other territories
Dancing With An Angel 1991 - CD not released in the United States
Love Lessons 1992 Caliber/Critique - First United States release since 1984. Released in some territories as Cherokee
For You 1993 Alpha - CD unreleased in the US
Behind The Memories Jul 1995 Pony Canyon -
Out Of The Blues 1996 Beacon - Nine songs recorded in 1975. Released in some territories as Book Of Songs
Thinkin’ About You 1998 Innerworks - Released in some territories as Letting You Go With Love
And So Is Love 2005 Concord -


  1. All Things Cherokee: Article - Guess Who's a Cherokee - Rita Coolidge
  2. Rita Coolidge Biography
  3. Zimmer, Dave, and Diltz, Henry (1984). Crosby Stills & Nash: The Authorized Biography (First edition), St. Martin’s Press, ISBN 0-312-17660-0.
  4. Accomplished Alpha Gams, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

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