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Etta James, From Sweet to Raunchy

by Legacy Staff

Happy birthday to the honey-voiced legend. 

When singer Etta James died of leukemia Jan. 20, 2012, fans were heartbroken. But her extraordinary voice lives on.

James, who was born Jan. 25, 1938, was best known for the lovely song that’s been played at countless weddings and special occasions, including Barack Obama’s inaugural ball. “At Last” has been recorded by dozens of artists, from Nat King Cole to Stevie Nicks to Beyonce, but it’s Etta James’s rendition that shines above all the others.

James sang those slow love songs like no one else. “A Sunday Kind of Love” displayed her talents as beautifully as her signature song did.

But it wasn’t just sweet love songs that Etta James made shine. As a young, aspiring singer, she “always wanted to be raunchy.” She got to fulfill that dream with her recent cover of the Guns N’ Roses hard-rock classic “Welcome to the Jungle.”

From sweet jazz to dirty blues, Etta James owned the songs she sang.

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