Legendary R&B singer Etta James has died at the age of 73, it was announced today (January 20).
The singer died from complications related to leukemia, in a Riverside, California hospital.
Etta James was discovered by R&B pioneer Johnny Otis, who recorded James’ first hit “Dance with Me Henry.”
She was later signed to Chess Records by Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows, where she recorded classic sides like “Something’s Gotta Hold On Me,” “Tell Mama,” “All I Could Do Was Cry,” and her best known song, “At Last.”
Etta James’ career was turbulent at times, due to an addiction to a variety of drugs, including heroin, alcohol and prescription painkillers.
Etta James won her first of three Grammy awards in the 1990s and in 1993, she was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
“Three-time Grammy winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Etta James leaves behind a dynamic legacy spanning six decades,” Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow said. “Her music knew no boundaries as she explored diverse genres including blues, soul, R&B, rock and roll, gospel and jazz. She will forever be remembered for her timeless ballad “At Last,” and a powerful voice that will echo around the world for generations to come. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, fans and all who have been stirred by her soulful songs and passion for music.”
Etta James’ music has been sampled by a number of Hip-Hop artists throughout the years.
Common sampled Etta James’ “Something’s Gotta Hold On Me” for his song “This Is Me,” while Kanye West sampled “My Funny Valentine” on his 2005 track “Addiction.”
Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé Knowles famously played Etta James in the movie “Cadillac Records,” which also starred Mos Def as Chuck Berry.