Death Rest In Peace - By Sahin Dogan on Sunday, May 27, 2012 9:29 - 26 Comments - Post a Comment - Report Abuse
Etta James has died. The celebrated R&B and blues singer whose vocals have enchanted generations and sold endless consumer goods died this morning at 73 due to complications from leukemia in the miserable city Riverside, California.
James’ health had been terrible for years. It was reported last month that James’ had chronic leukemia. According to Court records in the singer’s probate she also lived through dementia and kidney failure.
Meanwhile her family has been fighting over her modest fortune -a $1 million estate. Etta James’ version of “At Last” is used in every commercial targeting classy sentimentality and the woman only dies with a million dollars to her name. So pathetic.
PHOTOS: Etta James 1938-2012
James stayed at a expensive rehab center to kick her addiction to prescription meds and over-the-counter painkillers in 2010. And she had dealt with complications since going under the knife for gastric bypass surgery in 2002 in an attempt to get her weight down.
After the surgery, which she did upon Roseanne Barr’s recommendation, James dropped 200 pounds. Prior to the surgery, her weight had reached beyond 400 pounds. When she sang, she had to be walked on and off the stage in a wheelchair. “I thought I was going to die,” said James in 2003. “I was constantly worried that I was going to have a heart attack.”
Perhaps the archetypical torch singer, James, was an L.A. native. She belted out the blues but also knew her way around sophisticated jazz. Her sable voice, which could flow from a breathless murmur to ground shaking outcry, impacted decades of crooners who came after, from Tina Turner to Bonnie Raitt to Christina Aguilera. Beyonce studied James intensely prior to playing her in some what biographical 2008 movie “Cadillac Records.”
Despite her quick ascendancy in the music world, James was hassled by her weight as well as her addictions to heroin, cocaine and alcohol, and with her stormy relationship with her mother, who was only 14 when she gave birth to Jamesetta Hawkins on Jan. 25, 1938. James, grew up in South Los Angeles during World War II, and though she never knew her father she was certain he had to have been the pool shark Minnesota Fats.
Eta James, though, has always been held in high regard for her talent. Even world famous rockstars bowed down to Etta. The Rolling Stones, had her as opening act on their U.S. tour in 1979, and voters at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted her in 1993.
“It really does mean a lot,” James said upon her induction. “It shows that if you’re hanging around the candy store long enough, people start giving you things.”
James’ sixty year recording history began at the top of the R&B charts when her lurid 1955 single “The Wallflower,” better known as “Roll With Me Henry,” made her a national star over night.
She is most famous for “At Last,” the dynamo ballad that became a hit in 1961 and which has been enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Pulling and twisting the notes of the bluesy melody to uncover the hard-won fulfillment of a lifelong desire, and depicting a woman in a moment of splendor as if opportunity has finally landed at her feet, Etta James rejoices: “At last, my love has come along/My lonely days are over/My life is like a song.”
This post was submitted by Sahin Dogan.
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