Etta James

Etta James ( born January 25, 1938 as Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, California, † January 20, 2012 in Riverside, California ) was an American rhythm and blues, blues, gospel, rock 'n' roll and jazz singer.


Etta James was born as the daughter of a 14 -year-old African-American woman as Jamesetta Hawkins. Your first singing lessons she got at the age of five years by James Earle Hines, the director of " Echoes of Eden " Choir of St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles. In 1950 she moved with her family to San Francisco.

She founded in 1952 the trio "The Creolettes ", which was discovered by Johnny Otis. Moreover, how it came to this discovery, there are numerous versions. Otis version says that Etta James after one of his performances in San Francisco came to his hotel room and persuaded him to audition. Etta James tells himself that this is one of the girls from the trio was and that they had sung two clock Johnny Otis. Otis suggested to her to reverse the syllables of her first name and turn it into a stage name. Their first recordings, along with "The Otis ", followed immediately. The song The Wallflower, an answer to Hank Ballard's song Work with Me, Annie, became an instant hit on the R & B sector. Later the song by Georgia Gibbs, as Dance with Me, Henry, reinterpreted.

Until 1960 she sang as Etta James & the Peaches, then she moved to Chess Records. Nevertheless, for a long time wanted to hire no success in the mainstream. Only after changing to Chess Records was also the commercial success. He began with All I Could Do What Cry and sat the whole 1960s continued. With the rise of disco music at the beginning of the 1970s, their success took off again, but their previous music they made already become an icon of American music. After she had successfully fought her drug addiction, she became involved in anti-drug projects. 1978 and 1980 she served as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on the go. At the opening of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she sang When the Saints Go Marching In. She was honored by the critics with the Living Blues Award for best Blues artist in 1993; an award that she received in 2004. 1995 saw her biography Rage to Survive, written by David Ritz.

Her singing was characterized by a rich, resonant, mature voice, which is a younger crowd mainly known because it was to hear the mid-1990s in a cola commercial film with the Muddy Waters classic I Just Wanna Make Love to You. In Austria the late 1990s, their biggest hit was At Last used in a vinegar advertising and so a wider audience. The film Cadillac Records shows her life from the phase change to Chess Records (1960 ) to the death of its founder Leonard Chess (1969). The film was released in Germany on 23 April 2009. Beyoncé Knowles embodied therein Etta. 2011 she has been heard in the single levels of the Swedish DJ Avicii as a sample.

Her sons Donto (drums) and Sametto (bass ) are also musicians and were part of their backing band The Roots band. Sametto also produced her Grammy excellent album Let's roll.

Etta James, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, leukemia and hepatitis C, had her last public appearance in April 2009. She died on 20 January 2012, the consequences of severe pneumonia.




DVDs and Videos


  • 2008: Cadillac Records ( their years at Chess Records with Beyoncé Knowles as Etta )