Etta James sang some of the finest blues we will ever know. This legendary music icon who gave us a lifetime of extraordinary music passed away last week at the age of 73 after a battle with leukemia. Her legacy includes a long list of chart topping pop, rock, soul, and jazz in addition to the blues. She did it all. Her signature was that unmistakable style and sound that could pull the life right out of every note she sang. And she sang to us for literally decades with a singing career that spanned more than 55 years. Her music wowed my parents generation in the 1960s just as it does today for my own children who always have her music on their I-Pod play lists. Her sound simply transcends time.
A long list of awards recognizes the achievements for her many years of hard work. The Blues Foundation of Memphis, TN, supporting blues music and its heritage, have nominated James for a Blues Music Award nearly every year since their beginning in 1980. And she has received some form of their Blues Female Artist of the Year award 14 times since 1989 and she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. Her sound was recognizable even as she crossed music’s genre of styles for which she also holds 6 Grammys and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 as well as the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2001. The list of awards goes on and on.
Her recorded music will help sooth our soul as her sound lives on. But Etta James, we will miss you terribly.