1938–2012 ➤ Blues icon Etta James dies after influencing everyone from Janis Joplin to Beyoncé

➢ Etta James won six Grammy awards, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was portrayed by Beyoncé in her 2008 biopic. Read her obituary at MTV and view a life in photos

Etta James, the legendary singer whose career spanned six decades (and just as many musical genres) and whose voice has influenced everyone from Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt to Christina Aguilera and Adele, died today after a lengthy battle with leukemia. She was 73 years old.

Best known for hits like At Last, All I Could Do Was Cry, Tell Mama, Something’s Got a Hold on Me and Good Rockin’ Daddy, James learned to sing in church, and first recorded professionally as a member of the all-girl doo-wop group the Peaches, with whom she’d score a No1 hit (The Wallflower, an answer to Hank Ballard’s Work With Me, Annie). Soon after that song’s success, James left the group and toured with the likes of Little Richard and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. She’d subsequently sign with Chicago’s Chess Records in 1960, where her powerful contralto was featured on a string of crossover classics that spanned R&B, soul, gospel, blues and even rock… / continued online


Etta James, blues, singer ,Cadillac Records, Beyoncé Knowles, movies

Etta James in the 1960s, and as portrayed in the 2008 musical Cadillac Records by Beyoncé who also produced the film

This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed.


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