Posted by themusicsover on January 20, 2012
Etta James (Born Jamesetta Hawkins)
January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012
Etta James was an American singer whose songbook included forays into jazz, blues, soul, gospel and rock ‘n roll. Born in Los Angeles, California, James had what many would consider a rough childhood and spent many years in the charge of caregivers. Singing from a young age, James was just 14 when she caught the ear of music impresario, Johnny Otis. Otis helped her land her first recording contract with Modern Records and before she knew it, she and her group, the Peaches were touring with Little Richard. In 1960, now signed to Chess, James released her debut album, At Last!, which included the smash hit single of the same name. The album, which also included hits like “A Sunday Kind Of Love” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” peaked at #68 on the album charts but is nonetheless considered one of the great albums of the era. She went on to have several more hits over the next two decades. After parting ways with Chess in 1978, James struggled with personal issues before launching a well-received come-back during the late ’80s. Over the course of her career, James was awarded six Grammys, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Award, and permanent homes in the Rock and Roll, Grammy, Blues, and Rockabilly Halls of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine ranks her at #22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and #62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists. In 2010, Etta James was diagnosed with leukemia and ultimately died of the disease on January 20, 2012. She was 73.
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