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This poster of Etta James is the third in our series honoring great blues musicians - some famous, some obscure.

The poster is printed on heavyweight presentation paper using dye based inks - approximate live image area is 14" x 20"

Your poster will be shipped rolled in a heavyweight tube to ensure its safe arrival.

About Etta James -

Etta James, ( Jamesetta Hawkins) was born in Los Angeles, California. She received her first professional vocal training at the age of five from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir, at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

James' family moved to San Francisco in 1950, where she soon teamed up with two other girls to form a doo-wop singing group. When the girls were 14, bandleader Johnny Otis had them audition; they sang an answer to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie," called "Roll With Me Henry." Otis particularly liked the song and, without her mother's permission, James and the duo went to Los Angeles in 1954 to record it. The song was recorded under the Modern Records label. By this time, the trio had renamed the song "The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)." It was released in 1955. James named her vocal group "The Peaches." Richard Berry, a Los Angeles doo-wop luminary, is featured on some of the group's records.

"The Wallflower" was a #1 hit on the R&B charts of 1955. The song was later a hit in the white market for Georgia Gibbs, written as "Dance with Me, Henry" and rewritten as "The Wallflower" according to her book "Etta James". Soon after the song's success, The Peaches and Etta parted company, but this did not halt her career. She continued to record and release albums throughout much of the decade, and enjoyed more success. Her follow-up, "Good Rockin' Daddy" was released and became another hit in the fifties. Other songs however, such as "Tough Lover" and "W-O-M-A-N" failed to gain any significant success. James toured with Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Otis Redding in the fifties and has cited Watson as the most significant influence on her style.
Breakthrough and the Chess years: 1960–1978

In 1960, James signed a recording contract with Chess Records, signing with their subsidiary label, Argo Records (she later also recorded for their other subsidiary label, Cadet). James began her relationship with the label with five major hits, first with a pair of duets with singer, Harvey Fuqua; "If I Can't Have You" and "Spoonful." She had her first major solo hit with the R&B-styled tune, "All I Could Do Is Cry." The song quickly went up the Billboard R&B Chart, peaking at #2 in 1960. This was followed by the Top 5 R&B hit, "My Dearest Darling" the same year. Around the same time, James also sang background vocals on Chuck Berry's hit, "Back in the USA." That same year, James released her debut album off Chess entitled, At Last!. It featured all of James' hits between 1960 and 1961, and also included a few standards, such as Lena Horne's "Stormy Weather", "I Just Want to Make Love to You," and "A Sunday Kind of Love." The album showed James' varied choice in music.

Chess Records head producer, Leonard Chess imagined James as a classic ballad stylist who had potential to cross over onto the Pop charts. Chess began backing James up on her recording sessions with violins and other string instruments, which was first seen on her 1961 hit, "At Last." The song went to #2 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1961, and also peaked at #47 on the Billboard Pop Chart, ultimately becoming her signature song. Although it wasn't as successful as expected on the Pop charts, it did become the most remembered version of the song. In 1961, James had another major hit with "Trust in Me," which also featured string instruments. Also in 1961, James released a second studio album, The Second Time Around, an album inspired by Soul music. The album took the same direction as her previous album, covering many Pop standards, and using strings on many of the songs. The album spawned a Top 15 hit, "The Fool That I Am" and a minor hit on the Pop chart, "Don't Cry Baby."

In 1962, James had three major hits, beginning with the Gospel-inspired, "Something's Got a Hold on Me," which peaked at #4 on the R&B chart, and also reached the Pop Top 40. Another single, "Stop the Wedding" followed and reached #6. In 1963, James cut and released her first live album, Etta James Rocks the House, which was cut in Nashville, Tennessee at the New Era Club. In 1963, James had another Top 10 R&B hit with, "Pushover," which also made the Pop Top 25, and was ultimately one of Etta's two biggest Billboard hits on the Hot 100. "Pushover" also hit #11 on influential pop music station WMCA in New York during May, 1963. It was followed by two other singles that year that were minor hits on the Pop chart, "Pay Back" and "Two Sides (To Every Story)." That year she released her third album, Etta James Top Ten. Within the next year, James scored another Top 10 hit with "Loving You More Each Day" (which also reached #65 on the Pop chart) and had a Top 40 hit with "Baby What You Want Me to Do."

In the mid-1960s, James began to battle a heroin addiction, which would last up until 1974. For years, James would spend much time in and out of Los Angeles' Tarzana Psychiatric Hospital. However, James began recording again in 1967 and achieved her biggest hit in years, "Tell Mama," which reached the R&B Top 10 and #23 on the Hot 100. An album of the same name, produced by Rick Hall at his then-hot Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, also featured a rendition of Otis Redding's song, "Security" which peaked at #11 on the R&B chart. Although she wasn't as successful as she had been, James remained a large concert attraction. She continued to have R&B Top 40 hits up until the mid 1970s, with "Loser Weepers" (an album of the same name was released in 1971) and then with "I Found a Love" in 1972.

ETTA JAMES - Blues Woman Poster - 3rd in Series