Missing Ms. James

Published January 20, 2012

As you’ve probably heard, beloved soulstress, Etta James, died today at age 73.  The singer died of Leukemia, but was also allegedly struggling with dementia and hepatitis C. Etta’s biggest hit, “At Last,” was actually written in 1941 for a musical called Orchestra Wives and was recorded by Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Connie Haines and plethora of other famous professionals long before James’ version rose to the top of the charts in 1961. But Ms. James made “At Last” her own, eclipsing all preceding and succeeding versions; you can no more separate Etta from “At Last” than you can Aretha Franklin from “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” Throughout the ’50s she put out a series of hits and, after fighting off drug demons, she finally resurged in the ’80s. You shall be missed, Jamesetta Hawkins.