The Queen of Soul!
Etta James, born Jamesetta Hawkins to a 14-year-old mother and an unknown father, grew up in Los Angeles in the 40s.
Her many foster parents were often abusive and so was her first mentor, a choir leader that used to punch her whilst singing in order to strengthen her voice.
At the age of 16, she had already recorded her first single and started touring with Little Richard.
At 22 her first contract timed out and she signed for Chess instead, here she would release all her well-known material and become one of the major stars of the label, alongside Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Four Tops, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, and Ike Turner.
Chess was the blues label to be associated with and Etta was their Queen. A title she claimed with the name of her 5th studio album.
Her first album (1960) At Last, was a huge success. Containing I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Stormy Weather, and the title track, At Last, it made Etta James famous.
Her second album didn’t have any hits on it, the third did better with Something’s Got a Hold on Me, peaking at #4.
In total, Etta James would go on to release 29 studio albums between 1960-2011.
The songs that have had a lasting impact may not have been hits at the time of release, but her best-known songs are, At Last, I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Something’s Got a Hold on Me, and I’d Rather Go Blind, all released in the 60s.
In 2011, Avicii sampled Etta’s intro vocal of Something’s Got A Hold Of Me and launched his own career on the back of it for the tune Levels.
Etta James tunes | Related pages
| F | Dm7 | Gm7 | C7 | F | Dm7 |
At last, my love has come along.
| Gm7 | C7#5 | F | Dm7 |
My lonely days are over.