Etta James (1938 – 2012)

One of soul, jazz and rock's greatest voices succumbs to leukaemia.


Words by: Charlie Jones

Sad news: Etta James, Miss Peaches, The Matriarch of R&B, has died of leukaemia. She was 73.

Etta James, born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, she sang through her childhood, and was taken under the wing of the band leader, and father of Shuggie, Johnny Otis. She presently signed with Chess Records, who released her debut ‘At Last’, forming her heartwrenching signature song. Her voice, one of the absolute greats, mixed gospel, rock, R&B and the emerging soul sound, but she fell prey to drug addiction, and barely worked for a decade, returning to the stage in 1987 with her album ‘The Seven Year Itch’, finding the recognition that she deserved.

Just days after the death of Otis, Etta James passed away. Our thoughts are with her friends, family and many fans.

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