This is a rather sad column today. Firstly, I have flu so looking at this laptop screen is about the 177th I would like to be doing right now. Secondly, the great blues singer Etta James passed away yesterday. She died from complications from leukemia at the age of 73. There aren’t many ways to say ‘I’m really upset about this,’ and sometimes simplicity is key. Thus: I’m really upset about this. James was a singer whose voice was at once instantly recognisable and identifiable as well as completely unique. It’s funny (if I can use that word) that two major pop songs right now (Avicii’s Levels and Flo Rida’s Good Feeling) both sample James’s ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’. If that introduces a whole new generation to James’ magic, then the world’s all the best for it. More gushing after the jump:
1) I’d Rather Go Blind – Etta James
This is one of James’s best known songs and rightfully so. It allows her voice to reach its expressive best, evoking heartbreak and longing in equal measure. It would be pointless for me to write about James’s whole history. Partly because people all over the internet are already doing so far more eloquently, and partly because it’s a fairly well told story. What I will say is that you can hear James’s influence throughout modern popular music. From Winehouse’s bluesy soulfulness to Adele’s bare-all heartbreak (see below), James’s music will still be felt. May she rest in peace.