Songstress Etta James, wh0 became known for her signature ballad At Last, died this morning after a long battle with leukemia. She was 73.
Paul Cavalconte, a longtime New York air personality, including at the defunct Smooth Jazz station WQCD, has fond memories of the legendary artist.
“What strikes me is how Etta had this incredibly rich and varied career, with deep R&B roots, but she is best known for a record that totally misrepresents her–as with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World,” Cavalconte, currently heard on FM News WEMP, tells FishbowlNY. “That said, both records are pop masterpieces, and her At Last has gained this other life through use in movies, commercials and such.”
James experienced ebbs and flows in her long career. She went through a rejuvenation in the final years of her life. In 2008, Beyonce´ played James in the film Cadillac Records. A year later, Beyonce´ serenaded President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at their inaugural ball.
“It’s a rare example of a popular standard reestablishing itself outside of its original generation,” Cavalconte says. “At a wedding, the young bride and groom might have their first dance to an Etta James record, and as the family fills the dance floor, the parents may have had it as their wedding song.”
Photo courtesy of RollingStone.c0m