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Singer Etta James dies at 73 [Audio]

January 20, 2012 | 10:08 am


Etta James, the singer whose diverse repertoire included rhythm and blues music and jazz, has died at 73. James died Friday morning at a hospital in Riverside, surrounded by her family.

The singer had been in failing health for a number of years. Her doctor had recently announced that James had chronic leukemia.

Throughout her career, James was most closely associated with R&B music. But she was not an easy singer to classify, taking significant detours into pop and jazz as well. Her hit singles include "The Wallflower," known as "Roll With Me Henry," "At Last" and "I'd Rather Go Blind."

PHOTOS: Etta James, 1938-2012

James' personal life was difficult. She battled weight problems and multiple forms of substance abuse. In 2002, she had gastric bypass surgery to deal with her weight.

Recently, the singer's two sons had been in a court battle with their stepfather over her estate.

Among her four Grammy wins was one for best jazz vocal performance in 1995 for the album "Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday." Listen here to her rendition of "The Man I Love."


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Jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato sings without borders

-- David Ng

Photo: Etta James in 2004 at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Los Angeles Times