Bonnie Bramlett is a voice for the ages, a national treasure, and a lighthouse for lost ships from the '70s to this day.
Known for her distinctive vocals in rock and pop music, Bonnie began her musical career at the age of thirteen singing in a St. Louis nightclub area that is much like the French Quarter in New Orleans. She performed with and was groomed by jazz and blues acts such as Stan Getz, The Quartet Tres Bien, Herbie Mann, Miles Davis, Nat and Cannonball Adderly, and Fontella Bass. Her love of rhythm and blues also brought her to the attention of Albert King and Little Milton. She made history as the first Caucasian in the "Ikettes," the backup singers for Ike and Tina Turner.
She eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she met fellow singer Delaney Bramlett in 1967 at a bowling alley gig for his band, The Shindogs (house band for the show Shindig). They married seven days later and formed the act Delaney and Bonnie, and then later Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, who produced some of the most distinctive and unique music of the ‘70s. Public interest in their music was matched by fascination with their personal and musical “friends,” including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, George Harrison, John Lennon, Joe Cocker, Dave Mason, Gram Nash, Rita Coolidge, and Leon Russell -- to name only a few. Eric Clapton reportedly left Blind Faith because he’d rather play with Delaney and Bonnie.
Delaney and Bonnie made five successful and highly regarded albums together. Hit singles such as "Soul Shake," "Never Ending Song of Love," and "Only You Know & I Know" kept them on the charts.
"Superstar" is a 1969 song written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell, which appeared on their 1972 album D&B Together. Originally entitled "Groupie," it has been a hit for many artists in different genres and interpretations in the years since, including Rita Coolidge, Bette Midler, Joe Cocker and Leon Russell (Mad Dogs and Englishmen), Cher, Peggy Lee, and Luther Vandross. The best known version was recorded by The Carpenters in 1971. The original Delaney and Bonnie version was included as a bonus track on a 2006 reissue of the 1970 album Eric Clapton, and Bonnie later recorded the song on her 2002 CD I'm Still the Same.The duo broke up personally and professionally in 1973. Bonnie moved to Georgia, where she enlisted a little known backup band from Scotland, The Average White Band. She issued solo LP's in 1974, 1976, and 1978. Bonnie’s parallel career as a backup singer is nothing short of astonishing. She has performed on over a hundred albums for a list of artists that reads like who’s who of musical history. To name just a few, the list includes The Allman Brothers Band, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop, Jimmy Buffett, T Graham Brown, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Rita Cooledge, John Cowan, Steve Cropper, Charlie Daniels, Willie Deville, Donovan, The Everly Brothers, Grinderswitch, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Hall, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, John Lennon, Little Feat, Nils Lofgren, Dave Mason, Delbert McClinton, John Oates, Lee Roy Parnell, Tom Rush, Leon Russell, Earl Scruggs, Carly Simon, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakum. After touring with Stephen Stills, Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman invited her on the Allman Brothers tour. She became known as the only "Allman Sister" to the acclaimed Southern rock group. Bonnie returned to LA in the ‘80s, and ventured into acting. She had a guest role on the TV series Fame, followed by a role in Oliver Stone's film The Doors with Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan and Billy Idol. She appeared on the TV series Roseanne as Bonnie Watkins, Roseanne’s fellow waitress at the Mall, with David Crosby playing her husband. Several episodes featured outstanding musical appearances by the two. In 2006 she appeared in the film The Guardian, featuring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kucher.
In 2002 Bramlett released her first album in twenty years, the critically acclaimed I'm Still the Same. This was followed in 2006 by Roots, Blues & Jazz, which featured “I Can Laugh about it Now,” an ode to the turmoil of the 1960’s. Bonnie's latest album, Beautiful, on the Rockin' Camel label, keeps the standards right up there with another engaging mix of American roots music, delivered with customary musicality and passion.
Bonnnie Bramlett is joined on this CD with a song by her daughter Bekka. Delaney Bramlett died in December 2008.
At 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville
I had the indescribable privilege of meeting the godmother of my generation of rock when she came to my husband Phillip/s studio to record “Last Night I Dreamed of New Orleans.” Phillip and I both fell in love with Bonnie Bramlett. She is pure, unassuming love. We could see why Beatles slept on her couch and Eric Clapton poured his heart out to her and even left Blind Faith to be with Delaney and Bonnie. As she prepared to leave, she stood in our driveway with her arms outstretched, singing “Amazing Grace” to the woods and reveling in the ambient echo. After she left, we missed her for at least two weeks.