I’ve always been a sucker for a music biography. I can’t help myself. Digging into the sometimes inspiring, oftentimes trashy chronicles of my rock ‘n’ roll heroes brings out the kid in me every time. And occasionally they offer up a nugget of genuine insight.
I recently picked up a copy of “Delta Lady,” a biographical memoir from Rita Coolidge. For those of you who may not go back that far, Coolidge, the inspiration for Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady,” evolved from the queen of the ’60s backup singers to a successful soft-rocking ’70s solo artist, charting 25 hits and surviving a celebrity marriage with Kris Kristofferson along the way.
Coolidge relates the tale of her decision, several years back, to stop performing her signature hit, a mellow cover of Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher.” Having performed the song countless times over the years, the singer had finally had enough and removed it from her set list. She subsequently attended a concert by Luther Vandross, one of her all-time favorite singers, where Vandross stubbornly refused to perform any of his hits. Leaving the concert disappointed, Coolidge changed her tune, adding “Higher” back into her set and vowing to somehow present the song “fresh” at every performance.Read More