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Remembering Etta James

Sen. Barbara Boxer

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Mr. President, today I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and artistry of Etta James, the legendary singer and entertainer who moved and delighted music lovers for more than half a century. She died in her hometown of Riverside, CA last week at the age of 73 after a long and valiant battle with leukemia.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938, she began singing in the St. Paul Baptist Church choir at age 5 and recorded her first hit record, ``The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry),'' when she was just 15. Etta James was equally at home singing rhythm & blues classics like ``Something's Got a Hold on Me,'' soulful ballads such as ``All I Could Do Was Cry,'' and passionate love songs including the incomparable ``At Last.''

I was fortunate enough to grow up with her music, dancing to ``The Wallflower'' in high school, ``At Last'' as a newlywed, and ``Tell Mama'' as a young mother. As she continued to tour and record, later generations marveled at her talents, reveled in her exuberant performances, and admired her indomitable spirit.

Through her music, Etta James brought the joys and sorrows of life home to millions of fans all over the world. She will be deeply missed, but her music will live on in our hearts and souls.

On behalf of the people of California, I send my deepest condolences to her husband, Artis Mills; her two sons, Donto and Sametto James; and her four grandchildren.