Saturday, January 21, 2012

Etta James - A First Lady Of Soul And Blues

WE have just lost Etta James, one of the first ladies of soul. Read all about her from Wikipedia.
Etta James Hawkins (January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer whose style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid 1950s, she gained fame with hits such as Dance With Me, Henry, At Last, Tell Mama and I'd Rather Go Blind. She faced a number of personal problems including drug addiction before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.
She is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 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 in 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artistes.
Born in Los Angeles to an African-American mother and a British-American father, James never knew her absentee father's identity. She received professional vocal training at five from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes Of Eden Choir at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles. She soon formed a girl group The Creolettes and met musician Johnny Otis who became their mentor. As lead singer she recorded Dance With Me, Henry in 1950. James eventually left the group (which was renamed The Peaches after a name change suggested by Otis). As a solo artiste, James had an R&B hit Good Rockin' Daddy and began a relationship with singer Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows. One of her childhood friends BB King dedicated the song Sweet Sixteen to her. From the 1960s to 1970s she had major hits as If I Can't Have You, Spoonful, All I Could Do Was Cry and My Dearest Darling. She also sang background vocals on Chuck Berry's Back In The USA. Her debut album At Last was released in 1960 and included the title track, I Just Want To Make Love To You and A Sunday Kind Of Love. In the same year she released the album A Second Time which contained The Fool That I Am and Don't Cry Baby. In 1961 she released the hit single Something's Got A Hold On Me and Stop The Wedding. In 1963 came the hit single Pushover and the album Etta James Rocks The House. In 1967 she released the hit single Tell Mama and I'd Rather Go Blind. In the 1970s came Losers Whispers, I Found Love and Out On The Street Again. In 1989, James released the albums Seven Year Itch and Stickin' To My Guns. She also had a duet with hip-hop singer Def Jef titled Droppin' Rhymes On Drums. In 1992, she released the album The Right Time and in 1993 came the Billie Holiday tribute album Mystery Lady: Songs Of Billie Holiday. The latter album won James her first Grammy for best jazz vocal performance in 1994. In 1995, she released her autobiography A Rage To Survive and recorded the album Time After Time. In 1998 came the album Etta James Christmas. In 2000, she launched the blues album Matriarch Of The Blues. In 2008, Beyonce Knowles played James in the film Cadillac Records. James' final television performance was in 2009 in Dancing With The Stars. She sang At Last. James is survived by her husband Artis Mills whom she married in 1969. They have two sons Donto and Sametto who performed with her in some concerts.