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Etta James, Powerful Voice Behind ‘At Last,’ Dies In L.A.

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January 20, 2012 by The ReadyWriter


From the NY Times:

Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last,” died Friday morning in Riverside, Calif. She was 73.

Her manager, Lupe De Leon, said that the cause was complications of leukemia. Ms. James, who died at Riverside Community Hospital, had been undergoing treatment for some time for a number of conditions, including leukemia and dementia. She also lived in Riverside.

Ms. James was not easy to pigeonhole. She is most often referred to as a rhythm and blues singer, and that is how she made her name in the 1950s with records like “Good Rockin’ Daddy.” She is in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.

She was also comfortable, and convincing, singing pop standards, as she did in 1961 with “At Last,” which was written in 1941 and originally recorded by Glenn Miller’s orchestra. And among her four Grammy Awards (including a lifetime-achievement honor in 2003) was one for best jazz vocal performance, which she won in 1995 for the album “Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday.”

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59 thoughts on “Etta James, Powerful Voice Behind ‘At Last,’ Dies In L.A.

  1. ManUp says:

    Damn Tra you late…

    Like

  2. Ashanti says:

    Oh wow and she couldn’t stand Beyonce. 🙂

    Like

  3. Olivijah says:

    James claimed she “can’t stand Beyoncé” and that Knowles would “get her ass whipped”….Etta later said that her remarks about Knowles were a joke but admitted she was hurt that she was not invited to sing her song and that she could’ve performed it better.

    Lets remember that Ms. Etta had dementia. RIP to her. One of the greatest to do it! There’s enough room for all the women! And yes, she sangs her song better than Bey!

    Like

  4. Pat says:

    They look happy in the pic to me.

    Like

  5. Mahogany says:

    RIP Etta…u EARNED the right to be a DIVA!

    Like

  6. Ms. Kayla says:

    may she R.I.P

    Like

  7. Olivijah says:

    And yall have a good one. Seriously I should be gone.

    Like

  8. FloridaGurl says:

    RIP Queen James! Nobody will EVA sang At Last like u

    NObody i say 🙂

    Like

  9. Gia says:

    Hey ere body

    Like

  10. ManUp says:

    And I agree with Etta…she SHOULD’VE been invited to the White House to sing her signature song…but I think the Prez people..felt that Beyuckky would appeal more to the younger voters.

    Like

    • EbonyEyes says:

      Why didn’t Beyonce sing a song from her own music catalog for the President?

      Like

      • CorporateBitch says:

        EB – Because there isn’t anything orginal…..

        Like

      • Keisha says:

        Why didn’t Beyonce sing a song from her own music catalog for the President?
        ———————————–
        @Eb if I am not mistaken they requested “At Last” sung by Beyonce. Cadillac Records the movie was out at the time. It was the Obama’s wedding song I think I read and is the numma one wedding song of all time.

        Like

  11. Keisha says:

    RIP Etta. You fought the good fight ma’am.

    Like

  12. HarlemGirl says:

    well RIP Etta

    Like

  13. Acquitta says:

    When she was alive Etta James could not stand Beyonce. In fact, she hated Beyonce with a passion.
    ——————————————
    I thought it was proven that the reason Etta made those comments about Beyonce and she hated her, she stole her song, yadda yadda was because at the TIME she had undiagnosed Alzheimer’s.

    Like

  14. Dana says:

    Etta James couldnt stand Beyonce because she didnt like the fact that ppl would book Beyonce to sing her song while Etta was alive and able to sing. Etta James was hating on Beyonce and the fact that she was booked to sing at the White House her song. It had nothing to do with anything Beyonce did. Etta James never was the type of women that would want to be pushed to the side as they did when Beyonce redid her song. Beyonce didnt say anything that would steal the spotlight from Etta James death.

    Like

  15. Keisha says:

    From CNN…2009

    He described his mother as “quite combative … fighting, biting — I’m talking way off the chart.”

    Donto James said he’s hoping for more information about his mother’s condition.

    “There has to be another doctor out there who can tell me what is going on with my mother,” he said.

    Etta James’ illness, he said, led her to the controversial comments at a concert a year ago where she suggested pop star Beyonce should be “whipped” for singing “At Last” for President Obama’s inaugural ball.

    “I can’t stand Beyonce,” she told a Seattle, Washington, audience. “She has no business up there, singing up there on a big old president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”

    She was upset about the inaugural, her son said, because “mother was supposed to be hired, but she wasn’t well.”

    Like

  16. Felicia says:

    G’night everyone, have a relaxing and safe weekend…

    Like

  17. Ionna says:

    RIP

    Ms James

    Like

  18. Mrs. Hawthorne says:

    Anywho, I never understood the whole outrage with Bey singing “At Last” when many other artists have done their own versions and not to mention Etta’s version is a remake itsel!

    May she RIP. I was never a fan but I did like a few of her songs and all bios i’ve been reading say she had a hard life.

    Like

  19. RandomChick says:

    Etta, you will be missed. My favorite song by her is I’d Rather Go Blind.

    Like

    • EbonyEyes says:

      Etta, you will be missed. My favorite song by her is I’d Rather Go Blind.
      ————————————————–

      Ain’t that the sht?

      Like

  20. Yvonne says:

    My favorite Etta James song is “A Sunday Kind of Love” but I’m listening to “Don’t Go to Strangers” as I type.

    Like

  21. Adriane says:

    Her struggle is finally over, may she rest in Peace.

    I don’t care what nobody says…Bouncie played the hell out of that part…loved ‘Cadillac Records’.

    Like

  22. 2Thick4U says:

    “””””But it was superstar Beyonce who serenaded the Obamas, not the legendary singer. Beyonce had portrayed James in “Cadillac Records,” a big-screen retelling of Chess Records’ heyday, and had started to claim “At Last” as her own.

    An audio clip surfaced of James at a concert shortly after the inauguration, saying she couldn’t stand the younger singer and that Beyonce had “no business singing my song.” But she told the New York Daily News later that she was joking, even though she had been hurt that she did not get the chance to participate in the inauguration.”””””

    Beyonce will never be on Etta’s level. I was so disgusted by ppls ignorance and utter disrepect to Etta by allowing Beyonce to literally steal her song. Beyonce doesn’t have any classic or timeless music so she’s riding on other ppls shit*.

    Like

  23. IntenseShit says:

    THERE WAS A GENERATION OF FOLKS WHO HAD NO IDEA WHO ETTA JAMES WAS UNTIL BEYONCE PERFORMED THIS SONG FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA

    MAY SHE REST IN PEACE

    Like

    • SueWee says:

      Imagine an Etta-and-Beyonce duet at the White House for President Obama! Beyonce did, however, bring Etta’s work to a new generation of fans, but I do understand why Etta was upset at not being invited to sing at the Ball.

      Like

  24. Bird says:

    RIP Etta James

    Like

  25. Donte says:

    May she be in peace

    Like

  26. Wanda says:

    RIP Etta…

    Like

  27. CoCo says:

    Aw, Etta passed? Sad.

    Like

  28. Tamala says:

    Good morning, EVERYONE!

    Like

  29. QueenC says:

    RIP Etta James

    Like

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sad news.. Etta James has passed away.

    Like

  31. Bobby says:

    So I’m on youtube looking at Etta James cover of at last. Just saw Beys, Celine Dion and Cyndi Lauper. I stan for Bey sometimes. However I must say Cyndi and Celine sung Beyonce under the rug on this one. WOW Just wow! CYNDI’S cover was incredible!

    Like

    • Ms. Kayla says:

      So I’m on youtube looking at Etta James cover of at last. Just saw Beys, Celine Dion and Cyndi Lauper. I stan for Bey sometimes. However I must say Cyndi and Celine sung Beyonce under the rug on this one. WOW Just wow! CYNDI’S cover was incredible!
      __________________________

      Yes, don’t sleep on Cyndi!!! I love Etta’s though!!! So much soul in her voice.

      Like

  32. EbonyEyes says:

    Hey everybody 🙂

    *waves*

    Like

  33. Jamilla says:

    Jesse Jackson was on Wendy Williams yesterday..I wonder if she asked him about his baby movah drama

    Like

    • BrownGirl says:

      Jesse Jackson was on Wendy Williams yesterday..I wonder if she asked him about his baby movah drama
      ********************************************
      The radio Wendy would. I like radio Wendy better however, she burnt so many bridges the A-Listers won’t go on her show. Well Kang Latifah was there on Tuesday but that’s the only one I can remember.

      Like

  34. Nicole says:

    “Kobe’s divorce is final, Vanessa is walking away with $75 million, which we’re told represents close to half of their total assets, estimated at around $150 million.

    Vanessa gets the estate the couple was living in, the estate her mom is living in, and she gets the new estate that had been under construction for 2 years and was just completed.”

    Like

    • Tamala says:

      “Kobe’s divorce is final, Vanessa is walking away with $75 million, which we’re told represents close to half of their total assets, estimated at around $150 million.

      Vanessa gets the estate the couple was living in, the estate her mom is living in, and she gets the new estate that had been under construction for 2 years and was just completed.”
      _______________

      Now I cant stand Kobe’s azz but why does the broad need 3 damn houses? They probably left his azz with one car, some of the groceries, and two face towels

      LMAO

      🙂

      Like

    • XMen says:

      Vanessa is walking away with $75 million,
      _______________________________

      Damn, Kobe…it was cheaper to keep her

      Like

    • Cameo1 says:

      That divorce did not hurt Kobe, he still getting endorsements and will get more.

      Like

  35. Lexy says:

    wow…RIP Etta..Truly a legend.

    Like

  36. SueWee says:

    Farewell, Etta. Thank you!!

    Like

  37. applebottomgirl2011 says:

    RIP Etta.

    Like

  38. CeoDawg says:

    RIP Etta, my sister of soul.

    Like

  39. Mrs. Hawthorne says:

    R.I.P. They don’t make voices like Etta’s anymore. She was great!

    Like

  40. Aceman says:

    Etta James is an icon, a “national treasure”. She had talent and she had “a past”.
    She will live forever for us in her music.

    Like

  41. Anonymous says:

    May Etta R.I.P.

    Like

  42. SlickRick says:

    May God rest her soul.

    Like

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