Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and therefore the wedding favorite "At Last," has died, in step with her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73.
She died from complications from leukemia together with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her facet, De Leon said.
She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and additionally suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned seventy four Wednesday.
" this can be an incredible loss for the family, her friends and fans round the world," De Leon said. "She was a real original who might sing it all -- her music defied class.
"I worked with Etta for over thirty years. She was my friend and that i can miss her continually."
The powerhouse singer, called "Miss Peaches," lived an eventful life. She 1st hit the charts as a teen, taking "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)" -- an "answer record" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie" -- to No. one on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, several with lush string arrangements. once a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a a lot of hard-edged, soulful sound.
Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs -- as well as variety of health issues -- she maintained an optimistic angle.
"Most of the songs I sing, they need that blue feeling to it. they need that sorry feeling. and that i do not know what i am sorry concerning," she told CNN's Denise Quan in 2002. "I don't!"
Through it all, she was a spitfire beloved by contemporaries and young up-and-comers.
"Etta James is unmanageable, and i am the closest issue she's ever had to a manager," Lupe DeLeon, her manager of 30-plus years, told CNN in admiration.
British songstress Adele named James mutually of her favorite singers, beside Aretha Franklin.
"If you were to seem up the word singer within the dictionary, you'd see their names," Adele said in an interview.
Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in l. a. to a teenager mother and unknown father. (She suspected her father was the pool player Minnesota Fats.)
Her birth mother initially took very little responsibility and James was raised by a series of individuals, notably a combine of boardinghouse homeowners. however she was recognized from a young age for her booming voice, showcased in an exceedingly South Central l. a. church.
In 1950, her mother took her to San Francisco, where James shaped a gaggle known as the Peaches. Singer Johnny Otis, best known for "Willie and therefore the Hand Jive," discovered her and had her sing a song he wrote using Ballard's tune as a model. "The Wallflower," with responses from "Louie Louie" songwriter Richard Berry, created James an R&B star.
Her signing to Chess introduced her to a broader audience, because the record label's co-owner, Leonard Chess, believed she ought to do pop hits. Among her recordings were "Stormy Weather," the Lena Horne classic originally from 1933; "A Sunday reasonably Love," that dates from 1946; and most notably, "At Last," a 1941 range that was originally successful for Glenn Miller.
James' version of "At Last" starts out with swooning strings and therefore the singer enters with assured gusto, dazzlingly maintaining a mood of joy and romance. Though the song did not create the highest forty upon its 1961 unleash -- though it did hit the R&B high ten -- its emotional punch has long created it a favourite at weddings.
James' career suffered within the mid-'60s when the British Invasion took over the pop charts and as she fought some personal demons. however she got a lift when she started recording at Rick Hall's FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Her hits included the brassy "Tell Mama" and therefore the raw "I'd Rather Go Blind," the latter later notably coated by Rod Stewart.
She entered rehab within the Seventies for her drug downside however re-established herself with live performances and an album made by noted R&B mastermind Jerry Wexler. once another stint in rehab -- now at the Betty Ford Clinic -- she created a comeback album, "Seven Year Itch," in 1988.
James mastered a spread of designs -- from R&B and soul to jazz and blues -- however she was continually one step behind the favored genre of the day, said Michael Coyle, a Colgate University professor who has written concerning jazz and R&B and reviews records for Cadence Magazine.
"She never extremely got her moment within the sun," Coyle said.
But James soldiered on, and by the top of her life she had created such a lot meaningful music that she was thought-about a living legend. "By the mid-'90s, she's survived farewell that folks begin to seem up to her," Coyle said.
James was portrayed by pop star Beyonce within the 2008 film "Cadillac Records," concerning Chess. once Beyonce sang "At Last" at one in all President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural balls, James lashed out: "I cannot stand Beyonce. She had no business up there singing my song that i have been singing forever." She later told the ny Daily News she was joking.
Earlier this year, news reports revealed that the singer's estate was being contested in an exceedingly legal struggle between her husband, Artis Mills, and son Donto James. (Donto and her alternative son, Sametto, each played in her band.)
Over the years, James had her share of health issues. within the late Nineteen Nineties she reportedly weighed over four hundred pounds and needed a scooter to induce around. In 2003 she had gastric bypass surgery and dropped over [*fr1] the burden, in step with folks magazine.
However, till her latest problems, James maintained a gentle touring schedule and appeared packed with energy even when sitting down -- as she generally did on stage, owing to unhealthy knees and her weight battles.
Even whereas sitting down, James gave it her all on stage, singing like possessed, caressing each note sort of a long-lost love. If that appeared somewhat a lot of to critics, well, the legendary singer had a show to place on, she told Quan.
"They said that Etta James continues to be vulgar," she said within the 2002 interview. "I said, 'Oh, how dare 'em say i am still real vulgar! i am vulgar as a result of I dance within the chair?' What would they require me to do? need me to merely be still or one thing like that?
"I gotta do one thing."