Rita Coolidge: Muse To Kris Kristofferson, Leon Russell, Crosby, Stills & Nash
By | April 30, 2020
Whether you know her as the singer of “All Time High” from Octopussy or the woman at the heart of songs like “Delta Lady” by Leon Russell and “Cherokee” by Stephen Stills, you’ve heard of Rita Coolidge. She may not be as famous as the men who were obsessed with her throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, but she’s had a fascinating life filled with good tunes and good friends. Coolidge was a musical muse for artists like Kris Kristofferson, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and a slew of singer-songwriters, but she was a talent all on her own. With two Grammy Awards and a memoir under her belt, she’s just as accomplished as famous artists she came up with.
She was born in Lafayette, but Memphis is home
Born on May 1, 1945 in Lafayette, Tennessee, Coolidge bounced around Kentucky and Tennessee as the daughter of a Cherokee Baptist minister. She says that she was singing before she could talk and knew that she would be doing it for the rest of her life. After moving to Memphis in 1967 she found herself in the city’s music scene rubbing elbows with Booker T. & the M.G.’s as well as singers Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Along the way she met singer-songwriter Leon Russell who convinced her to move to Los Angeles with him and further her career. It wasn’t hard to persuade her and soon enough they hit the road.