Nine Lives is the ninth album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1986 (see 1986 in music). It was Raitt's most difficult release, due to the poor sales, negative reviews, and general circumstances surrounding its release.
"In 1983 there was a corporate sweep at Warner's, coming from upstairs, and they needed to trim the fat," Raitt recalled in 1990. "I just had completed an album called Tongue & Groove, which was produced by Rob Fraboni, who had also done Green Light. And I don't think they maliciously said, 'Let's let her finish her album and get the tour all lined up and print the covers and hire the people to do the video and then drop her.' You know, ha, ha, ha. But that's what they did. It was literally the day after I had finished mastering it. I had already finished the album once, and [Warner's claimed] the Jerry Williams tune would be more commercial if it didn't have quite as reggae a beat. Or something like that. So I went in and redid it. I thought if I cooperated a little more, maybe they'd promote the album more. But instead they dropped me and pulled the rug out from under my tour. I thought the way they did it was real crummy. They sent a letter. I think I suffered from not having a relationship with the A&R department there, because I had an independent production deal..."
Raitt could have purchased the master tapes and released the album elsewhere, but Warner's asking price was considered too high. "They told me I can take the tapes and shop them around," said Raitt, "but they wanted about $500,000 for them, and nobody wanted to pay that much..."
The material for Tongue & Groove was shelved until two years later when "Warner's suddenly said they were going to put the record out," Raitt recalled. "I said it wasn't really fair. I think at this point they felt kind of bad. I mean, I was out there touring on my savings to keep my name up, and my ability to draw was less and less. So they agreed to let me go in and recut half of it." The result was Nine Lives, which was finally released in 1986.