Etta James (1938–2012), born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, was one of the most influential singers of this century. From the age of five, she learned how to sing. Her vocal coach subjected her to physical abuse to strengthen and deepen her vocals. She formed a girl group and, at the age of 14, singer Johnny Otis helped them to sign to Modern Records under the name The Peaches. She recorded her first track, ‘Roll with Me Henry’ which topped the R & B charts, and stayed with Modern Records until 1958. In the 1960s, Etta James truly began to make her mark as a solo artist. Signed to Chess Records, thirty of her songs entered the R & B charts, including the iconic ‘All I Could Do Was Cry’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. In 1961, she released her signature song, ‘At Last’.
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