Personalities | Etta James | Fifties | Rock
(Vocals, b. 1938)
Los Angeles-born Jamesetta Hawkins was discovered by Johnny Otis, who helped her write her first US R&B hit (and four-week chart-topper), 1955’s ‘The Wallflower’, an ‘answer record’ to Hank Ballard’s ‘Work With Me Annie’. Her 1960 breakthrough came with four US Hot 100 singles, including two duets with Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows. Crossover R&B hits continued through the 1960s, but heroin addiction cramped her style. Her biggest hit was 1967’s ‘Tell Mama’ (US Top 30), and the same year’s ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ (covered by Britain’s Chicken Shack) is arguably this latter-day anti-drug campaigner’s best-known song.
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