Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On This Day 20 January

What a voice.
1964 20 January On This Day Rocks The House by Etta James
Audio: Baby What You Want Me To Do SoundCloud
  • 1969 Led Zeppelin - Wheaton, MD at Wheaton Youth Center (unconfirmed rumor)
  • 1975 Led Zeppelin - Chicago, IL at Chicago Stadium
  • 1996 Page & Plant Unledded Tour - San Paulo, Brazil at Pacaembu Stadium

Before there was Janis, there was Etta.

The legendary Etta James was a musician Jimmy Page could admire for many reasons.  A hell-raiser who wasn't afraid to sing about sex in a period when the Beatles were still just wanting to hold hands, Ms. James wasn't afraid to tackle music and life in its fullest.

"The bad girls ... had the look that I liked," she wrote in her 1995 autobiography, Rage to Survive. ''I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be."

She is remembered as a blues singer, but Etta James wasn't afraid to work in many musical genres, from gospel to R&B, and from jazz to ballads. She might have been a "bad girl", but her At Last has been used by many a bride walking down the aisle.

Brian Ray (a session musician and Paul McCartney's bass player) recalls Etta James at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1975.
"When I get there the band they got together was Rick Wakeman [Yes] on keyboards, John Paul Jones [Led Zeppelin] on bass, David “Fathead” Newman and “Pony” Poindexter on horns. I go to rehearsal and I’m just a kid, I didn’t know what I needed to do. I knew the material so I’m teaching them what I know and it’s coming together well, and in walks Jimmy Page and Robert Plant [Led Zeppelin]. They listened to a few songs and then Jimmy Page says “I feel like I’ve known you before, man. Like maybe in another life,” so I’m having an Aleister Crowley discussion with Jimmy Page, and they took me out to dinner in a chalet up in the Alps near Montreux."
~ Brian Ray, interview 2009

In 1984, coming back from hard times due to heroin abuse, Ms. James sang the national anthem at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, boosting her return to music. She was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1993, was awarded Grammys in 2003 and 2004.  She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Etta James died on this day in 2012.

1975 Led Zeppelin at Chicago Stadium

1975 Led Zeppelin at Chicago Stadium
1996 Page & Plant,  São Paulo Brazil

♪  Baby What You Want Me To Do (Etta James, Rocks the House 1964) YouTube
♪  I'd Rather Be Blind (Etta James feat. John Paul Jones bass, Montreux 1975) DailyMotion
♪  When the Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin Chicago 1975) YouTube
♪  Full set (Page & Plant, Hollywood Rock São Paulo, 1996) YouTube

♪ Mage Music 1 playlist at YouTube
♪ Mage Music 2 playlist at YouTube

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