Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Coolidge's early career was as a backing vocalist, for artists such as Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton and Leon Russell. 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 and they 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.
She had several solo hit singles during the late 1970s with cover versions. Her first hit, (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher (originally recorded by Jackie Wilson), was also her highest seller, reaching number two on the US charts in 1977.
Other hits were We're All Alone (originally recorded by Boz Scaggs), I Don't Want To Talk About It (Rod Stewart), The Way You Do The Things You Do (The Temptations), You (Marcia Hines) and I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love (Carole Bayer Sager).
Her marriage to Kristofferson ended in 1980.
In 1997, Rita was one of the founding members of a Native American music focused trio, named Walela--the word for hummingbird in Cherokee. Rita is member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Walela includes her sister Priscilla and Priscilla's daughter Laura Satterfield, following their participation in Robbie Robertson's Music for the Native Americans project The group released a self-titled album in 1997 and an album entitled Unbearable Love in 2000.
In 2004, Rita released a huge anthology of her complete career entitled, DELTA LADY The Rita Coolidge Anthology.
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