Christina Aguilera was among those who bade a tearful farewell to the legendary singer Etta James at a quickly organised memorial service following the star's death aged 73 last week. Others who appeared or had statements read at the event included Stevie Wonder, Beyonce Knowles and PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA whilst members of James' family were also in attendance. Reverend Al Sharpton presided.
Aguilera performed the song 'At Last' which, whilst also being one of the star's best known tracks, was the very song that PRESIDENT OBAMA and wife Michelle danced to at their inaugural-ball following his election. Speaking before her rendition, Aguilera said "Out of all the singers that I've ever heard, she was the one that cut right to my soul and spoke to me." Obama's words were filled with equal gravitas, the President stating "Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation's musical heritage."
Beyonce - who'd portrayed James in the 2008 film 'Cadillac Records' - had said following her death last week that "Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen, her musical contributions will last a lifetime," and indeed it was something Stevie Wonder seemed all too aware of, covering 'Shelter In The Rain' with grace and humility to go with a harmonica solo and a version of the Lord's prayer.