Etta James, may her vocal chords be dipped in platinum and preserved for future generations, has died at 73 due to complications from leukemia as well as alzheimers, dementia, and Hepatitis C.
James won six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll, Blues, and Grammy halls of fame for her prolific, chart-topping recording career and trailblazing ability to meld rock, blues, gospel, soul, and R&B.
The Los Angeles lady, born Jamesetta Hawkins in 1938, sang her way through trials and tribulations, including hardcore drug abuse, relationship problems, and childhood trauma, delivering some of the most beautiful and iconic music in the American pantheon.
Etta James also trailblazed through Miami's golden era of Overtown music with shows at various local establishments.
Miami entrepreneur Edward "Coley" Cole, owner of the long-running Shantel Lounge in Liberty City remembers, "I tell ya, Overtown, any weekend you could go from the Island Club to The Fiesta, the Sir Jon Knightbeat, the Carver Hotel, you could see all of everybody ... Big Maybelle, Etta James, and the list goes on and on."
Rhythm and Blues pioneer Johnny Otis, who only recently died himself, took her and a girl group she was a part of called The Creolettes under his wing and helped get them a record deal with the Modern label. He was also responsible for convincing young Jamesetta Hawkins to use the stage name Etta James.
In her lifetime, she released 28 studio albums, three live records, six compilations, and a total of 58 singles.
R.I.P. to a queen of Rhythm & Blues.
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