Etta James

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About Etta James

Etta James had one of the biggest and most adaptable voices of her generation, equally commanding whether growling a raucous R&B tune or crooning a big pop production number. Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938, she had a turbulent childhood, but her love of blues and jazz helped her find her path as a teen. At 14 she was discovered by R&B bandleader Johnny Otis, who concocted her stage name and later wrote the 1955 R&B smash “The Wallflower (Aka Roll With Me Henry)” with her, kicking off her long recording career. In the early ’60s, James established her legend, showing her range with milestones like her brassy version of Willie Dixon’s Chicago blues standard “Spoonful” and the lush, orchestrated ballad “At Last.” She scored numerous hits from the ’50s through the early ’70s and worked all the way up to the end of her life, passing in 2012.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
January 25, 1938
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