Legendary Queen of Rock & Blues Etta James has made her transition at the age of 73 in a Riverside, California, hospital, her friend and manager Lupe De Leon announced on January 20th. James reportedly passed from complications with leukemia, which she was diagnosed with in 2010 and also suffered from dementia. De Leon stated, “This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category. I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always.”
Born as Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles to a then 14-year-old mother, Dorothy Hawkins, she began singing at the age of five with the church choir at St. Paul Baptist and was raised by family members before she and her mother relocated to San Francisco in 1950. At fourteen, she formed the girl group the Creolettes, which were signed to Modern Records before changing their name to the Peaches, where she established her stage name of Etta James.
Her singing style infused genres of gospel, rock & roll, blues, jazz and soul. She was one of the first artists to bridge the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll. James is the winner of six Grammy Awards and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.
James has impacted the lives of many with her bold and fiery vocals that captured the essence of true emotion in her songs. With classic originals and covers such as: At Last, Something’s Got A Hold On Me, I’d Rather Go Blind, Trust In Me, The Sky Is Crying, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, All I Could Do Was Cry, The Wallflower and Gotta Serve Somebody, she will be forever in our hearts as a legend who gave all she had to give in music. Rest Well Ms. Etta James! Please watch one of my personal favorite performances in honor of her life…