Nick of Time (album)

Last updated
Nick of Time
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 21, 1989
Studio Ocean Way Recording, Capitol Studios, Hollywood Sound and The Record Plant.
Genre Americana, Rock, Blues Rock
Label Capitol
Producer Don Was
Bonnie Raitt chronology
Nine Lives
Nick of Time
Luck of the Draw

Nick of Time is the 10th album by the American singer Bonnie Raitt, released on March 21, 1989.

Bonnie Raitt Blues singer-songwriter and slide guitar player from the United States

Bonnie Lynn Raitt is an American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and activist.


A commercial breakthrough after years of personal and professional struggles, Nick of Time topped the Billboard 200 chart, selling five million copies, and won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, which was presented to Raitt and producer Don Was. In 2003, the album was ranked number 230 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

32nd Annual Grammy Awards award ceremony

The 32nd Annual Grammy Awards were held in 1990. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year.

The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales, chart position, or critical reception." Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys having been presented since 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental recordings. Award to the artist(s), and to the album producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s), and mastering engineer(s) if other than the artist.

Background and recording

In 1983, Bonnie Raitt was dropped from Warner Bros. Records for not selling enough copies of her two previous albums, The Glow (1979) and Green Light (1982). This decision came just one day after she had finished rerecording her upcoming album, titled Tongue in Groove. [1] Two years later, Raitt's affair with producer Rob Fraboni came to an end, and she was forced to dissolve her backing band as she could no longer afford to pay them. [2] In addition to these personal problems, Warner Bros. announced they would release Tongue in Groove in 1986, now titled Nine Lives . This upset Raitt, as she now had to promote an album that she no longer had full control over. [3] Raitt began to suffer from depression, and tried to distract herself with excessive eating, drinking, and partying. [3] When asked about this period in her life, Raitt said: "I wasn't kicking and screaming into dementia, but I did have a complete emotional, physical, and spiritual breakdown." [4]

<i>The Glow</i> 1979 studio album by Bonnie Raitt

The Glow is the seventh album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1979. One of the first albums to be recorded and mixed digitally

<i>Green Light</i> (Bonnie Raitt album) 1982 studio album by Bonnie Raitt

Green Light is the eighth album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1982.

Rob Fraboni Audio Engineer

Rob Fraboni is a California-born record producer and audio engineer well known for his work with Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Tim Hardin, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, and Bonnie Raitt, and as Vice President at Island Records where he oversaw the remastering of the entire Bob Marley catalog. He produced the soundtrack on Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking concert movie, The Last Waltz, which included an all-star cast of famous rock and roll performers. He built and designed the legendary Shangri-La studios in Malibu to the specification of Bob Dylan and the Band. Referred to as a "genius" by Keith Richards in his bestselling autobiography Life.

After the release of Nine Lives, Raitt went on a concert tour. Pop star Prince was a fan of Raitt, and attended her performance at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles. He was impressed with the music, and offered her a recording contract on his own label Paisley Park Records. [5] Raitt agreed, and traveled to Minneapolis. Before she recorded any material however, she suffered a skiing accident and was hospitalized for two months. [6] The injury gave her time to reflect on her recent life choices. "It seemed that some changes needed to be made. I looked at myself and just felt I wasn't being the best version of me as I could. I wasn't going to blame anyone other than myself." Raitt attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, which she credits with giving her a new outlook on life. [7]

Prince (musician) American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and filmmaker

Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant fashion sense, and wide vocal range. A multi-instrumentalist, he was considered a guitar virtuoso and was also skilled at playing the drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, and synthesizer. Prince pioneered the Minneapolis sound, which is a subgenre of funk rock with elements of synth-pop and new wave, in the late 1970s.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Paisley Park Records record label from the United States

Paisley Park Records was an American record label founded by musician Prince in 1985, which was distributed by and funded in part by Warner Bros. Records. It was started in 1985, following the success of the film and album Purple Rain. The label shares its name with Prince's recording complex Paisley Park Studios and the song "Paisley Park" on his 1985 Around the World in a Day album. Paisley Park was opened to the public as a museum and memorial to Prince following his death. October 28, 2016, is officially known as Paisley Park Day in the city of Chanhassen to recognize the opening of the museum.

Despite her newfound sobriety, Raitt was still in financial trouble. She left Paisley Park Records after the planned collaboration between her and Prince fell through. Without enough money to afford a backing band, Raitt had to play a series of acoustic gigs to simply keep afloat. [8] It was during this period that Raitt met musician Don Was of the band Was (Not Was). The collaborated on two children's albums in 1988. Despite the simplistic material Raitt recorded for these albums, she enjoyed working with Was, and he agreed to produce her upcoming album. [9] The search for a record label proved more difficult, as many labels felt Raitt no longer had commercial viability. Co-manager Danny Golberg said at least fourteen executives passed on Raitt before Tim Devine of Capitol Records took an interest. In 1988, Raitt signed a recording contract with Capitol Records for $150,000. [10]

Don Was American musician

Don Edward Fagenson, known as Don Was, is an American musician, record producer and record executive. Primarily a bass player, Was co-founded the funk-rock band Was. In later years he produced songs and albums for a large number of popular recording artists. In 2012, he became president of jazz music label Blue Note Records.

Was is an American pop rock group founded by David Weiss and Don Fagenson, who adopted the stage names David Was and Don Was. They gained popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Tim Devine is an American music executive and entrepreneur. The founder of Webcastr, Devine is best known for his work as an a&r executive.

Her managers took me out to eat at one point, and said, "Look, it's great that you want to work with her, but if it comes down to it and a record company comes along and insists that she have a real producer, we're going to throw you under the bus." That's an actual quote. But we're all friends now.

– Don Was, recounting a conversation with Raitt's managers [10]

Before Raitt signed with Capitol Records, she and Was recorded some early demos at Was' home studio. These early demos focused on music that was stripped down, similar to Raitt's acoustic gigs. Was wanted to showcase her musical talents by choosing songs that worked without a backing band. [10] These demos were then properly recorded over the course of a week at Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles. The preparation Raitt and Was had done beforehand meant the recording sessions were quick. About two tracks were recorded a day, and nearly every track was recorded in only two or three takes. [10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [11]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [12]
Entertainment Weekly A [13]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Robert Christgau B [15]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [16]

In 2003, the album was ranked number 230 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . [17]

Track listing

  1. "Nick of Time" (Bonnie Raitt) – 3:52
  2. "Thing Called Love" (John Hiatt) – 3:52
  3. "Love Letter" (Bonnie Hayes) – 4:04
  4. "Cry on My Shoulder" (Michael Ruff) – 3:44
  5. "Real Man" (Jerry Lynn Williams) – 4:27
  6. "Nobody's Girl" (Larry John McNally) – 3:14
  7. "Have a Heart" (Bonnie Hayes) – 4:50
  8. "Too Soon to Tell" (Rory Michael Bourke, Mike Reid) – 3:45
  9. "I Will Not Be Denied" (Jerry Lynn Williams) – 4:55
  10. "I Ain't Gonna Let You Break My Heart Again" (David Lasley, Julie Lasley) – 2:38
  11. "The Road's My Middle Name" (Bonnie Raitt) – 3:31