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wonders never cease Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rest in Peace, Birthday Girl

Today would have marked Etta James' 74th birthday. Sadly, she succumbed to Leukemia and passed away last Friday so instead of celebrating another year of her amazing life. She was born Jamesetta Hawkins to an unwed 14 year old mother in Los Angeles and her early years were rough. Her singing talents were already apparent at the age of five, and she spent her life fine tuning her craft, releasing her final album three months before her death. She had a voice that could handle any style of song, from Jazz standards, pining R&B tunes, Blues ballads, Pop hits, raucous Rock songs or Gospel traditionals, infusing each one with a voice as powerful and pure as any in the business. Here are nine reasons why she will be missed:

1. At Last
While it wasn't her biggest hit, this classic song is what James is best known for.

2. A Sunday Kind of Love
This Jazz standard was recorded for 1961's At Last.

3. Misty Blue
From her final album The Dreamer, this classic was written by Bob Montgomery.

4. Hard to Handle
James drops in on the Grateful Dead and covers this Otis Redding classic.

5. I Just Wanna Make Love to You
A cover of a Muddy Waters hit that served as the B-side to the single At Last.

6. Oh Happy Day
James got her start singing in a church choir in Los Angeles.

7. Something's Got A Hold On Me
From 1963's Top Ten.

8. My Dearest Darling
Another from her fourth studio album, Top Ten.

9. Welcome to the Jungle
Etta covers Guns and Roses on 2011's The Dreamer.

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