Song for a Sunday

I was perusing over some various blogs yesterday and came across one that had a song posted each Monday from YouTube.  The author said he was doing that to lighten things up a bit as his blog was all about his struggle with obesity and weight loss.  I really thought it was a great idea for a post, so I’m taking his idea and on Sundays, I’ll be posting a song that I like and hopefully you will too!

My first song choice is one that I actually heard for the first time about 8 years ago. (Don’t ask me where I was all that time – under a rock?)  I fell in love with it the first time I heard it.  It is also in honor of the passing of Etta James who died on Friday at the age of 73, due to complications from leukemia.  She would have been 74 on Wednesday.

At Last by Etta James


Born Jamesetta Hawkins on Jan. 25, 1938, she began singing gospel in her church choir as a child and recorded her first album in 1954, at age 16.

She had a prosperous solo career through the 1950s, and despite battles with heroin addiction, hit her peak in the 1960s, recording popular ballads that included her signature At Last.

During her 40-plus-year career, she won four Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards and toured with such notables as Little Richard and Otis Redding. She earned a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Her early career was depicted in the 2008 film Cadillac Records, which portrayed the lives of some of America’s music legends. James was played by Beyonce Knowles, who sang “At Last” for the first dance of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama after the president’s 2009 inauguration.

James had harsh words back then for Beyonce’s performance, which James’ son would later attribute to dementia.

Beyonce issued a statement today calling James’ death “a huge loss.”

“Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time,” she said. “I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contribution will last a lifetime.”

She said playing James “taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts.”

James retreated from stage appearances in 2009, appearing on national television for the last time that year in an episode of Dancing with the Stars,during which she sang.

She had made her home in Riverside for the last two decades.

The singer’s $1 million estate has been the subject of a legal tug-of- war between her son, Donto James, and husband of 42 years, Artis Mills, who is not the young man’s father.

James was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. She also had dementia and a kidney deficiency and exhibited symptoms of organic brain syndrome.

James’ health problems have been at the center of the suit, which Mills filed in 2010, seeking to have his wife’s savings accounts declared community property, thereby removing any barriers he otherwise would face in using the funds. Donto James is challenging the action on the grounds that his mother gave him power-of-attorney to govern her affairs.

A Riverside County Superior Court judge in December ordered that $350,000 be used exclusively for her medical care.


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