Hearing that Etta James lost her battle with leukemia today left me with absolutely no choice but to feature one of her best as today’s song of the day. Quite frankly, it’s not like I would have been capable of finding something with such a lasting quality, anyway.
For some reason, I remember the exact day I first heard about Etta James. My mom teamed up with two neighborhood moms and their daughters (shout out to Mrs. McKay and Mrs. Pillsbury) so we could lunch like ladies at the finest restaurant in all the land: McDonald’s. My gal pals and I were lucky enough to snag the bar stools (which was the coolest place to sit), so we were able to sit high in the air and spin our chairs as we dined and discussed haute couture.
Between bites of chicken nuggets, Allison asked us mature ladies what we wanted our wedding song to be. Of course I can’t remember my response because that’s what would happen to me, but I do remember the other two. Julia said something along the lines of “anything by Garth Brooks.” We nodded approvingly because we knew he wore cowboy hats and sang country music. That’s about all we knew. Allison, on the other hand, had everything planned out. She answered her own question with At Last by Etta James. I didn’t know who that was at the time but I made sure to pretend like I was thoroughly impressed and commend her on the song choice.
Later that day I asked my mom about the song and she told me, “it’s very pretty!” She looked impressed by Allison’s choice, so that was enough for me. Even before hearing it, At Last was a great song to me. Pretty, even! Because if mom said it was pretty, it was pretty.
And wouldn’t you know it, she was right. She didn’t go into details about how Etta James was an amazing musician and had a gorgeous voice. She didn’t talk about how she hit notes perfectly and make any song soulful, whether it be a ballad or an uptempo song. She didn’t tell me this because I was 5 or 6. This is something I had to figure out for myself and, well, it didn’t take too long.
Take a minute to pay tribute to Etta James today. I’ve decided to post a new favorite – Sunday Kind of Love as well as Allison’s future wedding song – At Last.