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Artists We’ve Lost in 2012: Etta James

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Soul singer — actually, make that soul legend — Etta James was battling dementia and other illnesses such as leukemia for quite some time when she finally succumbed at 73 on Jan. 20, 2012. Miss Peaches, as she was commonly referred to, passed away just five days shy of her 74th birthday.

James and that powerhouse voices of hers could not be contained or confined to a time or space in music history. Her signature torch songs ‘At Last’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ have been covered by everyone from veteran divas like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera to diva-in-training Rachel Crow, and there’s no doubt these tracks will live on far into the future.

Etta James’ voice was sharp like a knife – she could cut you with the pain she infused into soulful, bluesy classics like ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ and ‘All I Could Do Was Cry.’ There was almost too much emotion bursting from every note as she soared through her inimitable songs.

Although she’s gone, one thing is still very clear about Etta James: She sang it. You felt it. End of story.

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