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Smokestack Lightnin' Will miss her!
1-20-2012 - Legendary R&B singer Etta James -- famous for her hit songs "At Last" and "Something's Got a Hold on Me" -- has died.
The singer -- whose health was on a rapid decline the last few years -- was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. She also suffered from dementia and Hepatitis C.
Her live-in doctor announced the singer was "terminally ill" last month, after her leukemia was declared incurable.
Etta died at a hospital in Riverside, California ... her manager confirmed
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938) is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter. James is the winner of four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame both in 1999 and 2008. In the 1950s and 60s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for her 1961 ballad "At Last", which has been featured in many movies, television shows, commercials, and web-streaming services since its release. James has a contralto vocal range.
She received her first professional vocal training at the age of five years old, from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir at St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
James' family moved to San Francisco in 1950 and James soon teamed up with two other girls to form a Doo-wop singing group. When the girls were fourteen, band leader Johnny Otis had them audition: they sang an answer to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie" called "Roll With Me Henry." Otis particularly liked the song, and against her mother's wishes, James and the trio went to Los Angeles to record the song in 1954. The song was recorded under the label Modern Records. By this time, the trio renamed the song "The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)" and released it in 1955. James named her vocal group The Peaches. Richard Berry, a Los Angeles Doo Wop luminary is featured on some of their records.
In 1969 James married Artis Mills and they had two sons Donto and
Sametto James. Her granddaughter Karissia was born in 1995, the daughter
The year 1961 was a year of great change for James, seeing the release of one of her first pop-oriented tunes, "At Last". The song became a big hit, reaching #2 on the R&B charts. The song even went as far as #22 on the Pop charts that year, proving that the Pop crossover direction was successful for her. Although it may have turned out to be less of a hit than expected on the Pop charts, it still made the Top 30. The song became her signature song the tune for which most people remember her . Other hits followed, including "Trust In Me," as well as the 1962 tune "Something's Got a Hold On Me" (recorded in the UK by Elkie Brooks), which showed more of James' Gospel side, a genre she had sung since childhood.
Her 1963 album "Etta James Rocks the House", which was cut at
Nashville's New Era club, also gave her career a boost. She had other
big hits in the 1960s, but mainly on the R&B charts. The song "Pushover"
was a hit for her in 1963. Other hits followed, like "Stop the Wedding",
"Fool That I Am" and "Don't Cry Baby", which were all hits for her
between 1961 and 1963. From this, James became one of the most
successful R&B artists of the 1960s, having many more Top Ten and Top
Twenty hit singles on the charts. She has been classified as one of the
pioneers of the Blues, being acclaimed to the ranks of artists like B.
B. King. Performing in Memphis, Tennessee, the city where blues started,
didn't hurt. Between 1965 and 1967, she experienced less success, but in
her 1967 releases provided a comeback.
Despite a dry period during the early to mid 80s, Etta got back on
track and began to record music again. She received accolades for her
1981 rendition of Randy Newman's "God's Song". Her 1988 album Seven Year
Itch proved this comeback capability. The album showed more James' Soul
side. In 1989, Etta recorded the song "Avenue D" with David A. Stewart
of Eurythmics fame. The song was featured on the soundtrack to the
Robert Wise film "Rooftops". She also performed with the Grateful Dead
for two shows in 1982, demonstrating the diveristy of her admirers.
To a younger generation, Etta is known for the Muddy Waters song "I Just Wanna Make Love to You", used in television commercials for Coca-Cola and for John Smith's bitter (beer). The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Foghat have also recorded the song. Etta's version was a surprise Top 10 UK hit in 1996. . Later in life, James struggled with obesity. She reached more than 400 pounds, experienced mobility and knee problems, and often needed a wheelchair. In 2003, James underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds On May 6, 2003, James released a blues rock album of new material, Let's Roll.
James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.. She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. Her pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2003 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time .
James won three Grammys: best jazz vocal performance (for Mystery Lady in 1994), Best Contemporary Blues album (for Let's Roll in 2003) and Best Traditional Blues album (for Blues to the Bone in 2004) . A new album was also released in 2006 called All the Way, which was released by RCA Records.
Etta James performs at the top world jazz festivals in the world, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1977, 1989, 1990, and 1993, performed nine times at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival five times. She also performs often at free city outdoor summer arts festivals throughout the US
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia