A few years back I wrote an article for a local paper. It was for a Valentine section and it listed my top 10 songs. Meaning the songs that this somewhat self-centered writer was sharing. My number 1 favorite because I am a hopeless romantic was; “At Last,” performed by the legendary blues singer Etta James who was the epitome of what they are labeling as “refined blues” has passed on today.
According to her biography titled, “Rage to Survive,” which she wrote in 1995, she states; ‘I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be.”
In real life nothing mirrors her platinum hit – she was apparently a hell-raiser who had spent years battling drug addictions which she admitted depleted her energy and talents.
Whatever she was, her spirit made her one of the most dynamic R&B singers and a pioneer in the ever changing sounds that influenced rock and roll, pop, soul and jazz artist.
She had a string of hits, but will always be remembered as the legendary woman that sang one of the most romantic songs; “At Last,” she is at peace.