Born January 25
By: Legacy Staff
11 months ago
Etta James provided the soundtrack for decades of wedding receptions and anniversary parties when she recorded her definitive version of the tender love song "At Last." Her velvety vocals made the song an enduring classic, and it's just one of many tunes that her voice made soar. Other hits include "The Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry)," "Tell Mama," and "I'd Rather Go Blind," and she was a major contributor to the development of rock 'n' roll out of rhythm and blues. The three-time Grammy winner also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2003. We remember James' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1951: Steve Prefontaine, U.S. runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics and contributed to the popularity of running and jogging, is born in Coos Bay, Oregon.
"Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints," Prefontaine said. "I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style." Read more
1943: Tobe Hooper, director of the horror film classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is born in Austin, Texas.
1938: Etta James, U.S. singer-songwriter known for classic songs including her interpretation of "At Last," is born in Los Angeles, California.
James was known best for the lovely song that's been played at countless weddings and special occasions, including President Barack Obama's inaugural ball. "At Last" has been recorded by dozens of artists, from Nat King Cole to Stevie Nicks to Beyonce, but James' rendition outshines all the others. Read more
1936: Diana Hyland, U.S. actress who won an Emmy Award for her performance in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," is born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
1933: Corazon Aquino, Filipino politician who was the first female president in Asia, serving as president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, is born in Manila, Philippines.
During her single six-year term as president, Aquino created a new Constitution, brought stronger civil rights to the people of the Philippines, and worked to reform her country's debt problem. Urged to run for a second term, she declined because she wanted to make it clear that the presidency shouldn't be a lifelong appointment. Read more
1924: Lou Groza, U.S. NFL placekicker and offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns for 21 seasons, is born in Martins Ferry, Ohio.
1923: Sally Starr, U.S. television personality who hosted programs including "Popeye Theater" using a cowgirl persona, is born in Kansas City, Missouri.
1923: Rusty Draper, U.S. singer whose hits included "The Shifting, Whispering Sands," is born in Kirksville, Missouri.
1918: Ernie Harwell, U.S. sportscaster who called play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, is born in Washington, Georgia.
Harwell spent 42 of his 55 years in broadcasting with the Tigers. He was their play-by-play radio voice from 1960-1991 and 1993-2002, joining Mel Allen, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, and others as some of the game's most famous voices. Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully began broadcasting Brooklyn Dodgers games in 1950, the season after Harwell left. "Probably the best word, he was gentle. And it came across. He just cared for people and he loved baseball. I mean, he loved it beyond just doing games," Scully said, according to Harwell's 2010 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1915: Ewan MacColl, English folk singer-songwriter who wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and was the father of singer Kirsty MacColl, is born in Broughton, England.
1905: Margery Sharp, English author whose best-known books are "The Rescuers" series, which were adapted into Disney animated feature films, is born in Salisbury, England.
1882: Virginia Woolf, English author of novels including "Mrs. Dalloway" and "To the Lighthouse," is born in Kensington, England.
1825: George Pickett, U.S. general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War who led the famous Pickett's Charge, is born in Richmond, Virginia.
1783: William Colgate, English businessman who founded Colgate-Palmolive, is born in Hollingbourne, England.
1759: Robert Burns, Scottish poet considered the national poet of Scotland, whose best-known works include "A Red, Red Rose" and "To a Mouse," is born in Alloway, Scotland.