Etta James died today. By most young people’s understanding,Etta James is the character that Beyonce Knowles played. It is a sad testimony to the fact that today’s youth will never quite “get”, understand or be able to create what Etta James created on Chess Records.
Nobody wants to create music simply to create music. With every lyric thats written or tune thought up there seems to be the hidden agenda to achieve fame and fortune. Today it is easier than ever to gain these lustful traits with the media. The world’s media, especially American media, has grown to be the single most powerful industry in the world in many different ways. The term “Pop” music which refers to the highest selling music is short for the world popular. This music as well as the musicians who create it are almost completely shaped by the media. It’s even now possible that through the mass presence of television channels like MTV and large selling magazines that musicians could be fictional and still sell millions of album or you tube a song can become popular in a day. It’s the invisible trust that every person confides in mass media.
When a 13 year old girl with one of the most annoying voices ‘sings’ some of the worst lyrics for any song ever written through some kind of mega auto-tune machine and it becomes an Internet sensation with over 60 million views on YouTube, it’s obvious that Etta’s gift of song will be lost. Sixty million views on YouTube is a huge deal, even if you take into account the curiosity factor of people who just need to hear how bad the song is, it still wouldn’t add up to 60 million. There’s an obvious amount of people who actually enjoy this song in a non-ironic way, there are people out there who actually enjoy this song and love listening to it numerous times a day, which leads me to the whole point of this article.
Etta sang about life, pain and love. Even in the midst of her personal drama of men, money, questionable actions and tragedy you are left with the fact that this woman wanted to sing about the truth, no matter how hard, sad or lonely. The song “At Last” is a song of desperation from a woman who has known more bad men than good. When you listen to her voice on that song you are left with the feeling that no matter what she was a brave woman fighting through to the frontier of claiming her man. When was the last time you heard a song like that? The powerhouse singer, known as “Miss Peaches,” lived an eventful life. She first hit the charts as a teenager, taking “The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)” — an “answer record” to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me, Annie” — to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound. Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs — including a number of health problems — she maintained an optimistic attitude
Rest in Peace Etta… Rest in Peace
Note from writer: Please note the word “great” here is used as description meaning huge. I was using a line from an old 1920’s song lyric as follows, “the silence will be great my friend, the silence over edge.. the missing you will create a void, from which I will walk the edge, the silence will be great my friend while I am missing you. no one can replace you because the silence will be great.”