American R&B/soul contralto vocalist, the most prominent female vocalist of the Chess label.
Etta James was discovered as a teenager by Johnny Otis, with her first hit in 1955. She recorded for Modern Records and Kent Records for the remainder of the 1950s. She signed with Chess in 1960, recording with them until 1976. From 1965 to the mid 1970s she battled heroin addiction.
In 1978 she recorded the Jerry Wexler produced "Deep in the Night", which was her final recording until 1988, returning to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios to record "Seven Years Itch". From 1988 through 2006, she recorded frequent albums.
She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2008, the movie "Cadillac Records" told the story of her career through to the late 1970s, with her role being played by Beyoncé Knowles, who also recorded some of James' songs for the soundtrack.
For writing credits in her early career she used the last name from a couple that took care of her as a child, Jamesetta Rogers and on a rare occasion her real name Jamesetta Hawkins. Mother of Donto James and Sametto James.
Real name: Jamesetta Hawkins
Born: 25 January 1938 in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: 20 January 2012 in Riverside, California, USA