Etta Jamesby Tyler Woods on Jan. 26, 2012, under Life
I try to get a portion of my news from the internet. It seems like it comes in quickly on the net and I like getting caught up on the news and events quickly, however, last week I read some news that made my heart drop, yet filled my head with memories and it got me thinking….
How many people have fond memories of the song by Etta James, At Last? I know I have several memories that make my heart flutter and the death of Etta James I have no doubt, has many people looking at old memories. James voice was her instrument of choice, and so diverse was she as a singer she was categorized as jazz, R&B, gospel, Doo-Wop pop, blues, and rockabilly.
Etta James was born in 1938 and originally was a gospel singer. In fact, some said she was a “gospel prodigy” and sang in her church choir at the young age of five. Too young to be a singer? Well by the time James was 12 she was singing in a trio with Johnny Otis the bandleader. She sang with a variety of people and in 1955 she went solo.
Etta James hit the charts as a solo artist with such hits as All I Could Do Was Cry, Trust in Me, Tell Mamma, Something’s Got a Hold On Me, Losers Weepers, and her big hit At Last. So great were her hits that she won six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. I never realized until I started researching Etta James that in 1978, she was the opening act for The Rolling Stones. Sadly, she disappeared after that for over ten years and she began to fight a heroin and alcohol addiction.
Like all strong women, Etta came back and she came back bigger, better and stronger. In fact so strong was her return James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Now that is saying a great deal for this singer. She started over 60 years ago and made history with her accomplishments as a singer.
So this past week, the world mourned this wonderful singer, but what she has left us with a mind full of music and a soul filled with memories that only Etta could have given us. So here’s to you Ms. James and may you rest in peace.