Monday, January 23, 2012

A legend lost

Etta James 
January 25th, 1938 - January 20th, 2012

What is there to be said about Etta that hasn't already been said? Not much can be said about this musical genius, except that there will never ever be another voice that could hold a candle to her. 

Growing up in a family that was very much obsessed with all things old, music was one of the most precious. My parents have the most outrageous vinyl collection and there was never silence in our home. Soul and blues music is my ultimate favorite, the feelings and the heart of the artist is so pure and apparent. It is the kind of music you can lose yourself in. 

Etta James is one of those artists. Her songs are so heart wrenching and beautiful - you can feel her pain and love in every note. This song is a perfect example of her magic.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles. As a child, Etta was a gospel prodigy, singing in her church choir and on the radio at the age of 5.When she turned 12, she moved north to San Francisco where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleader Johnny Otis.

In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record "The Wallflower" (a tamer title for the then-risqué "Roll with Me Henry") with the Otis band. It was that year that the young singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed The Peaches (also Etta's nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as "Good Rockin' Daddy" in 1955.

After signing with Chicago's Chess Records in 1960, James' career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry," "At Last" and "Trust in Me."
With suggestive stage antics and a sassy attitude, James continued to perform and record well into the 1990s. 

As she entered her seventies, Etta James began struggling with health issues. James was hospitalized in 2010 for a blood infection, along with other ailments. It was later revealed that the legendary singer suffered from dementia, and was receiving treatment for leukemia. 
James released her latest studio album, The Dreamer, in November 2011, which received warm reviews. A few weeks later, James' doctor announced that the singer was terminally ill. "She's in the final stages of leukemia."
Etta James passed away on January 20, 2012.

Rest in peace Etta 

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