Etta James’s Early Life & Early Recordings

The Wallflower

Etta James was born in Los Angeles, California on January 25, 1938. Her mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was to give birth to her at the age of fourteen. She was given the name of Jamesetta Hawkins. Her father was unknown and therefore as a consequence of her parentage, she went on to live with several foster parents in her younger years. As a young child she was to become a member of the church choir. As a result of this, the young Jamesetta was to become a Gospel prodigy. On the death of her foster parent, she moved to San Francisco in 1950 and went on to form a girl group called The Creolettes. She was later to meet and work with Johnny Otis.

Johnny Otis was to help the girl group sign with the record label Modern Records. Furthermore he went on to change the trio’s name to The Peaches. Also, in addition to this, he was to give Jamesetta the stage name of Etta James. The name we are most acquainted with and recognise today. The newly-named girl group, The Peaches, went on to record The Wallflower (also known as Roll With Me Henry) and subsequentially Good Rockin’ Daddy in 1955. Especially relevant however, were that both these songs went on to successfully chart in the US Rhythm and Blues Charts.



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The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) – Etta James & The Peaches – Modern Records


Good Rockin’ Daddy – Etta James & The Peaches Issued on Modern Records in 1955

MrHellvis69. (2013) You Tube

Music History – Etta James & The Creolettes

Mo Creol. (2012) You Tube

If you are’nt familiar with the earlier recordings and music of Etta James, or are keen to listen to her earlier music, a 32 track CD can be purchased at Ace Records. It is also available to purchase for MP3 download. Called Miss Etta James: The Complete Modern And Kent Recordings, it contains songs issued on the Modern Record and Kent labels. It covers the years between 1954 and 1959.

To see the bibliography for this page please visit here


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