Remembering Etta James: Performing ‘At Last’ At 1993 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction
Today marks nine years since Etta James died. Born in Los Angeles on January 25, 1938, the legendary R&B singer was known for her powerful, earthy voice, which is featured prominently on her signature song, “At Last.”
Originally written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the 1941 musical film Sun Valley Serenade, Etta recorded a version of the song in 1960 which appeared on her debut album of the same name, released by Argo, a division of the famed Chicago label Chess Records. While James would go on to have hits with songs like “Tell Mama,” “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” and “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “At Last” remained James’ signature song throughout her career.
James struggled with substance issues, but in the 1970s she began addressing them. In 1978 James recorded an album for Warner Bros., Deep in the Night, which saw the singer incorporating more rock elements into her repertoire. That same year, Etta opened up for The Rolling Stones followed by appearances with the Grateful Dead in the early 1980s.
Although she enjoyed recognition from her peers, the ’80s were a tough time commercially for the artist with seven years lapsing without any major label interest. That drought would end with her 1988 Island Records comeback album, Seven Year Itch (a reference to the time without a major label release), which garnered the singer both critical and commercial success. The Chicago Tribune described the LP as “the first in her career to consistently capture the magic of James at her live best.”
Just five years after the release of Seven Year Itch, James received a well-deserved induction into the Rock Roll Hall Of Fame. The induction ceremony featured the singer returning to her signature song, “At Last,” which she performed to a rapt audience.
To remember Etta James, watch the legendary singer perform “At Last” below during her Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 1993: