R.I.P. Etta James
Powerfully emotive and highly influential R&B singer Etta James has died today at the age of 73 from complications of an incurable strain of leukemia she'd been battling since 2010. James is most known for her Chess Records years, breaking through with what was to become her signature song, 1961's “At Last” – probably one of the most ubiquitous songs played at weddings over the past 50 years. The classic ballad most recently returned to the public consciousness when Barack and Michelle Obama danced to it at the inaugural ball in January 2009, causing it to reach the top of the iTunes downloads chart.
Though the crossover success of “At Last” garnered her a wider audience, James was largely overlooked after leaving Chess Records in the '70s. As the neo-soul movement began in the 1990s, however, a generation of younger R&B singers began citing James as a major influence, bringing her music to an entirely new audience. Her spirit lives on in contemporary singers ranging from Angie Stone to Adele.
|Etta James, "At Last"|