Throwback Tuesday : Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

What fascinates me about singer/songwriter/blues maestra Bonnie Raitt’s phenomenal discography is the fact that she achieved mainstream commercial success after being in the game for almost 20 years!

Releasing her critically acclaimed self-titled début album in 1971, Raitt had never charted an album higher than # 25 on the Billboard 200 (the Gold-certified ‘Sweet Forgiveness‘ in ’77) for around 18 years – until she broke through with 1989’s ‘Nick Of Time‘ which became her first # 1 album, eventually being certified 5 times Platinum and winning her 4 Grammy’s including the coveted Album Of the Year nod.

What followed, was a series of Multi-Platinum, Platinum and Gold records that cemented her status as a Blues legend as well as a mainstream Pop icon.

It’s time to experience a melancholy drenched slice of the sublime blues that dominated Raitt’s follow-up album to the wildly successful ‘Nick Of Time‘ – 1991’s ‘Luck Of The Draw‘ – her biggest commercial success so far.


The poignant and bittersweet ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me‘ is my favorite song from Raitt’s ‘Luck Of The Draw‘.

The classic number was written by songwriters Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin (Marie Osmond, Tanya Tucker, Alabama and recently Miranda Lambert’s Grammy-winning ‘The House That Built Me‘), and is considered by many, including Rolling Stone Magazine, as one of the greatest songs of all time.

Raitt’s supremely flawless vocals are an easy hybrid of quiet resignation laced with an endearing longing and a subtle acceptance of heartbreak on this song. No other vocalist would have justified the number quite like Raitt, including Patti LaBelle and George Michael who were two of the many to have covered the song later.

Raitt’s gorgeous delivery is nothing short of the sonic equivalent of the pain of clinging on to the memory of a hopeless dream, as she croons ‘I’ll close my eyes, then I won’t see /The love you don’t feel when you’re holding me /Morning will come and I’ll do what’s right /Just give me till then to give up this fight/ And I will give up this fight‘.

And eerily, Raitt makes you believe every word she sings.

As far as break-up songs are concerned, this one reigns supreme!

Luck Of The Draw‘ eventually sold a massive 8 million units in the US alone, peaking at # 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, and still remains her biggest commercial success till date. The album also won Raitt 3 pieces of hardware at the 1992 Grammy Awards.

Check out Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me‘ right here :