Nightly News   |  January 20, 2012

Remembering Etta James

Music fans all over the world are mourning the loss of rhythm and blues singer Etta James. She was 73. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> music fans all over the world are mourning the loss of etta james tonight. her distinctive and versatile voice graced hits that ranged from blues to rock and roll . she'll always be remembered for one particularly haunting night club ballad. here is rehema ellis.

>> reporter: etta james , that voice. at last my love has come along

>> reporter: an iconic american voice that sang with sorrow. she started singing when she was 5, first in church. etta cut her first record at 15. in 1960 , she signed with the famous chicago blues label chess records . eventually recording her signature song . at last

>> reporter: people said etta james sang like an angel. go and cry girl

>> reporter: but she was a fallen angel . she dealt with heroin and cocaine addiction for many years, but she always praised god for helping her get back up. i've always been a dreamer

>> reporter: always hitting the notes with just the right amount of hurt and hope, but most of all, truth. i'll forever be a blind girl

>> reporter: etta james was 73. our species is defined by the tools we use. that's how we got to the top of the food chain . and