Remembering A Jazz Blues Legend: Etta James (1938 – 2012)

Etta James in 1990

She was called a “gospel prodigy” because she sang at church and on radio at the tender age of five.  She was one of the pioneers credited with fusing rhythm & blues and rock and roll.  And she kept the good times rolling right up until she was not able to, her last album being released just last November to warm reviews.  I am speaking (of course) of the legendary, often emulated, yet incomparable Etta James, who passed away Friday at age 73 from leukemia complications.  Although her career was both blessed with success and plagued with controversy, Ms. James was still about her business and managed to carve out many achievements including her collection of six Grammy awards, including one in 2003 for Lifetime Achievement, and her 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She also was ranked 62 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2004 “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list.

Had she lived, Ms. James would have celebrated her 74th birthday in four days (January 25th).  I pray her soul is at peace and that she will be celebrating with all those musical friends and family members who have gone home before her.  Rest in peace Ms. James :(.

Until next thought family, Thomasena

At Last (live performance; recording copyright 1999 MCA/Chess):


  1. I was sad to learn of her passing but inspired by her journey. “At Last” will forever be a song that speaks to our generation and beyond, from Etta to Rock Singers, to Beyonce to our President, she will not be forgotten.

    Great article!


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