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Friday, January 20, 2012

Legendary Etta James Dies

The great Etta James passed away this morning just five days short of her 74th birthday. She had battled leukemia and dementia for some time.

I’m proud to be one of her biggest fans. I was privileged to see her six times in concert, and I’ve read her autobiography twice. The best concert experience I had with her was at the LA House of Blues with Niece Shannon. We stood about 10 feet in front of the great lady and could see every wink, grin and eye rolling by Miss James. She gets pretty raunchy in live performance. She can slip gracefully from suggestive jokes and motions into the silky sounds of ‘At Last’ and ‘My Funny Valentine.’

I also had the opportunity to see her at LA’s House of Blues when she was being filmed for a DVD. I looked hard at the finished product and found myself a few times in audience shots. I doubt that anyone else could spot me, but it was a thrill nonetheless.

Miss James had a turbulent life – heroin addiction, alcohol, bad men, obesity, and other health problems. Her voice got huskier and more edgy, but it only made her better. She received four Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I’ve said it before and am doing so again: Someone needs to make a movie of her life and Jennifer Hudson should play the lead. Beyonce played Etta in the movie Cadillac Records and didn’t even come close. She just doesn’t have the attitude.

The following link leads to a CNN story that provides more biographical information.

Naturally, I have to post a few of her songs, but if you only have time for one, this is it, my very favorite.
Damn Your Eyes -

My Funny Valentine

You Can Leave Your Hat On (a raunchy great)

At Last – This is a wonderful concert video of probably her most famous song. We used her original recording of this as our wedding march when Mike and I married in ’04.

I join the rest of the world in condolences to Miss James’ family and friends. I will miss her, too.

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