Discovered by pianist and impresario, Johnny Otis, the legendary R&B singer Etta James was just 16 years old when she made her first recording. Roll With Me Henry (which was later re-titled The Wallflower in an attempt to tone down its somewhat sexual content) was a massive hit. At her new home of Chess Records, James embarked on one of the best single runs of all time: All I Could Do Was Cry, At Last and Trust In Me all came from this period. Her later album Tell Mama worked wonders, especially her take on I'd Rather Go Blind. Finishing up at the label with Etta Is Betta Than Evah, James made a rather poor choice in hitting up Warner Brothers Records; her career stalled. After battling with her drug addictions, James made an overdue comeback in 1989, with Seven Year Itch - this time for Island Records. This and subsequent releases saw her back on form, and she even cracked the UK charts in the mid-90s with her Muddy Waters cover I Just Want To Make Love To You. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2001. James was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and died the following year.
Influenced By: Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith, LaVern Baker, Billie Holiday...