Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Black History Spotlight: Etta James

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, CA, January 25, 1938, Etta James was a gospel singing prodigy at the age of 5. The congregation of the Saint Paul Baptist Church in South Central LA delighted in "the little girl with the big voice" while she was a member of the Echoes of Eden choir and under the vocal guidance of Professor James Earle Hines. After a move to San Francisco in 1950, she formed "The Creolettes," a female trio. Etta wrote a risque answer song to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me Annie." Against her mother's wishes, she went back to LA and recorded "Roll Me Henry," with bandleader Johnny Otis producing his new discovery's first hit. He's credited with renaming Jamesetta Hawkins to Etta James.

Etta's golden recording years began in 1960 when she signed on with Argo, a subsidiary of the Chess Records organization. Immediately, her recording career kicked into high gear; not only did a pair of duets with her then-boyfriend (Moonglows lead singer Harvey Fuqua) chart, her own sides (beginning with the tortured ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry") chased each other up the R&B lists as well. Leonard Chess viewed James as a classy ballad singer with pop crossover potential, backing her with lush violin orchestrations for 1961's luscious "At Last" and "Trust in Me."

Today, Etta is more fulfilled by music than ever before. She maintains an active tour schedule, performing in clubs, concert halls, and festivals year round. With her high-energy Roots Band behind her, this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer continues to churn out live R & B and jazz with the same raw intensity and bold passion for which she has always been famous.



11 comments:








frank

said...

I LOVE HER she will be at the House of Blues in Chicago...true legendary artist!!!





Pirouette1196

said...

I see Etta was rocking the blonde hair way before Lil Kim and Mary J. I'm feeling her song, "At Last." Very nice.





Anonymous

said...

she is christina aguilera fave singer and she did a beautiful version of at last on her stripped tour





reese

said...

this is completely random, but I must say your design is one of the nicest blogger designs I've seen :) Love the details (e.g. the typography, the nice icon by all the entry titles, etc)





Anonymous

said...

Why "at last"???? The ONE song that everyone has already heard already. It is on like every commercial. You should have picekd a song that isnt such a cliche.
personally i would have picked "something's got a hold of me"





Anonymous

said...

^^^then make yo own damn site and put that song thiere. niggas always complainin even when ppl trynna do positive shit.





Anonymous

said...

In my house when you hear Etta's voice streaming thru the speakers my kids know NOT to say a word. I feel that Etta hasn't gotten her due because of her problems with drugs but she is truly a legend !Thank you for that Dee.





Anonymous

said...

Much respect to Miss Etta, but she went there with the eyebrows. Damn!





Frank

said...

^^^ LMAO





Anonymous

said...

Excellent, love it! » » »





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