The voice that influenced everybody from vocal powerhouses Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Beyoncé, Mary J Blige to rock goddesses Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge, Joni Mitchell and a host of other vocalists was silenced forever on Friday, January 20th, 2012, as Soul legend Etta James breathed her last at the Riverside Community Hospital, California due to leukemia and kidney related complications. She was 73.
Etta breathed life into classics like her enduring anthem ‘At Last’, ‘All I Could Do Was Cry‘, ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me‘ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ with her sultry, passionate, emotionally driven and feisty vocals and redefined Jazz, Blues, Gospel and R’n’B.
One of my favorite vocalist of all time, I could never ever grow tired of ‘At Last‘. It still remains one of my favorite songs of all time.
The celebrated songstress, also known as The Matriarch Of R’n’B had her share of struggles including substance abuse after her rise to fame in the late 50’s and early 60’s after being signed to the iconic Chess Records, home to legendary vocalists Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. Considered as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Etta has been inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, while the iconic ‘At Last‘ has been enshrined in the Grammy Hall Of Fame.
She was recently diagnosed to have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Artis Mills; two sons, Donto and Sametto James; and four grandchildren.
Rest In Peace Etta James. Somewhere up there in heaven, you must be rockin’ away them blues! Thank you for the music and the inspiration. You will be missed.