Etta James, with her distinctive passionate vocals that made the love ballad “At Last” an enduring anthem, has died at the age of 73, suffering from dementia, kidney problems and leukemia over recent years. In December 2011, her physician announced that her leukemia was terminal, and asked for prayers for the singer.
Ironically, Bandleader Johnny Otis who found Etta James singing on San Francisco street corners with some girlfriends in the early 1950s, also died this past Tuesday at age 90! When Otis heard her, he told James to get her mother’s permission to accompany him to Los Angeles to make a recording. Instead, the 15-year-old singer forged her mother’s name on a note claiming she was 18. After her 1955 debut, James toured with Otis’ revue, and eventually signed with Chicago’s legendary Chess label, and began cranking out the hits! Johnny Otis, of course, will always be remember for his big 50′s hit, “Willie & The Hand Jive”!
TO HEAR THE ORIGINAL HIT RECORD VERSION FROM 1958, CLICK ON THE “MORE” BUTTON