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Etta James

GLOBAL – When R&B icon Etta James passed away a week ago the news touched many music fans, almost without them realising.

Because it turns out the singer has influenced some of the top names in music today. So we traced these links through Nokia Music.

British superstar Adele said: “What a lady Etta James was. She was the ultimate original. Her voice was breathtaking and her songs are reflections we all recognise in some way or another.

“It’s an honor every time I hear her voice. I saw her at BB Kings in New York a few years ago, and it was something I will remember forever. Thank you to Etta James. And I send all my love to her family and friends.”

The fact that Etta had such an impact on 23-year-old Adele from the other side of the Atlantic is a tribute to her musical reach.

Etta James at Nokia Music

So it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that she was mourned by so many when she died on Friday at the age of 73 following a prolonged fight with leukemia.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles on Jan. 25, 1938, aka Miss Peaches, Etta got started in her singing career in the 50s with early hits including The Wallflower and wedding song At Last, after graduating from church choirs to an R&B legend.

She won six Grammys but somehow failed to enjoy the mainstream success of some of the people she influenced, including Diana Ross.

She signed to Chess spin-off label Argo and her first album At Last came in 1960, including the classic I Just Want to Make Love to You. She was played by Beyonce  in the movie Cadillac Records.

To get a glimpse of Etta’s influence, if you take I Just Want to Make Love to You and put it into the Nokia Music search, you’ll find an amazingly diverse list of artists who have recorded that song, from Cliff Richard to The Alex Harvey Band.

As well as Diana Ross, Etta influenced Janis JoplinThe Rolling Stones , Rod Stewart, Amy Winehouse , and Christina Aguilera . And many more.

Follow the links to see Etta James classics performed by these artists. And please feel free to share other amazing cover versions other hits that you’ve found.

Christina Aguilera and Etta James