Matriarch of the blues, legendary singer Etta James was honored with the 2,223rd star on the world famous Holly wood Walk of Fame. The star for Ms. James was unveiled at 7080 Hollywood Blvd., near The Gateway of the Walk of Fame at Hollywood and LaBrea.
Johnny Grant, honorary Mayor of Hollywood and Chairman of the Walk of Fame Committee, presided over the event, and Leron Gubler, President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, spoke on behalf of the Chamber. Participating at the event were Congresswoman Maxine Waters of the 35th Congressional District and Congresswoman Diane Watson of the 33rd Congressional District.
Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, Etta James is one of the great song stylist of American popular music. Her influence on others singers spans generations from Diana Ross, to Janis Joplin to Bonnie Raitt- and her 1960 treatment of "At Last" has proven to be among the most enduring of all recorded pop performances. Legendary record producer Jerry Wexler once dubbed Etta "Matriarch of the Blues" and the title stayed with her always.
James was discovered in 1954 by bandleader Johnny Otis in San Francisco. He immediately took her to Los Angeles to record "Wallflower" , a number she had written as an answer to the Midnighters "Work With Me Annie". The saucy song shot to number 1, on Billboard’s R&B chart and was also covered by Georgia Gibbs in a expurgated version (titled "Dance With Me Henry"0 that topped the pop charts for four weeks. James eventually signed with Chess Records in 1960 and stayed with the label for next 16 years. Her other hit songs include: "At Last", "All I Could Do Was Cry", "My Dearest Darling", "Trust In Me", "Something’s Got A Hold On Me", "Tell Mama", "Fool That I Am", and "Don’t Cry Baby" to her Grammy Award winning 1995 debut for Private Music, Mystery Lady:The Songs of Billie Holliday. James is ranked third, just behind Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick as the most prolific female R&B hit maker of her era.She is in excellent company of the above mention singers.
Called "a singer of unprecedented power and appeal" by Rolling Stone magazine, Etta was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. She has also been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards and in 1995 took home the Best Jazz Vocal Performance trophy for Mystery Lady. Earlier this year, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences bestowed her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Etta James is currently on a national tour to promote her latest entitled "Let’s Roll". Etta produced this CD for Private Music/Arista Records that was released on May 6th, 2003. She headlines the Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles on July 9th.
Etta James joins a prestigious group of musicians with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame: John Lee Hooker,Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, and Gladys Knight.