Etta James (1938 - 2012)
Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. She was a child of mixed ancestry her mother was black and her father was white. Etta James started singing in the church as a child. By the time she was a teenager she had already been singing on the radio and in singing groups. In the mid 1950s she had changed her name to Etta James and signed with Modern Records. One of her first hits was a song entitled "Dance with Me Henry" also known as "The Wallflower."
In 1960, she signed with the legendary blues label, Chess Records. Here she had her first mainstream success with "At Last." This song was originally written in 1941 by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren. It had been featured in a musical called "Orchestra Wives". However, it is Etta James' version that is played even to this day. It is one of the most popular wedding songs of all time.
In 1963, Etta James released one of her most popular albums "Etta James Rocks the House." It is a live recording of a concert at The New Era Club in Nashville, TN. I actually have this recording. An older relative had given this to me years ago. I am very grateful for this because it opened my eyes to a whole new world of music. This is a wonderful recording. In fact, this CD is one of my favorites in my collection. This CD shows why Etta James is one of the greatest singers of all time. She will be missed but her music will live on forever.