Etta James

- Born: Jan. 25, 1938

- Died: Jan. 20, 2012

- Essential listening: “All I Could Do Was Cry” (1960)

- Who she inspired: Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner

Etta James transcended musical genres, living at various times within gospel, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, and R&B throughout her stunning, decades-spanning career. She was discovered as a teenager by Johnny Otis and came out in 1955 with her first hit, “The Wallflower.” From there, her meteoric rise included classic hits like “At Last,” “Something’s Got a Hold On Me,” and “I’d Rather Go Blind.” James is revered for acting as a bridge from R&B to rock ‘n’ roll, and has been honored with numerous Grammys and Blues Music Awards, and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame, and Grammy Hall of Fame.

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