Saturday, January 21

Etta James R.I.P.

Singer Etta James passed away yesterday in Riverside, California from leukemia, just five days shy of her 74th birthday. James is perhaps most famous for the hit song "At Last" and was signed to Chess Records subsidiary Argo for the release of her debut album, At Last!. Generally referred to as a R&B singer, James' music defied category as she could easily go from a gospel song into a sultry jazz standard live - which she regularly did when opening for The Rolling Stones in the late 1970s. Etta James suffered from drug addiction for the majority of her adult life, and spent many years in and out of rehab centers. In 1974, when Etta and her husband Artis Mills where found in possession of heroin her husband ended up taking responsibility for the drug and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Etta James' is survived by her husband, Artis Mills (whom she was married to for 42 years); two sons, Donto and Sametto James; and four grandchildren. Though her life had its share of troubles, James said she wanted her music to transcend sorrow rather than reflect it.

''A lot of people think the blues is depressing,'' Etta James said in 1992, ''but that's not the blues I'm singing. When I'm singing blues, I'm singing life."

Video courtesy of SassyGirrrl420
Information for this article, in addition to a portion of the text courtesy of Wikipedia and The New York Times.

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