It’s a feud that spans a generation — music legend Etta James has put modern superstar Beyonce on blast for singing her signature song, “At Last,” at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball after Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.
“I tell you, that woman he has singing for him, singing my song, she gonna get her a** whipped,” Etta told a crowd at a concert in Seattle on January 28. “I can’t stand Beyonce, she had no business up there singing… my song that I’ve been singing forever.”
But it seems the feud is one-sided. Beyonce recently portrayed the older singer in the film “Cadillac Records,” where she performed “At Last,” among other songs – and the two had the chance to meet at the film’s LA premiere, where Beyonce sang her predecessor’s praises.
“I actually just got a chance to speak with Etta James,” Beyonce told Access Hollywood at the time. “She’s a living legend and I want her to love the movie, and I hope she does.”
It’s not the first time Beyonce has had a run-in with a soul icon. After she referred to Tina Turner as “the queen” at the 2008 Grammy Awards, Aretha Franklin – long known as the Queen of Soul – issued a statement that said, “I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyonce… However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy.”
As for “At Last” – while it may be Etta’s trademark tune, the track was first performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra in 1941 and later by Nat King Cole in 1957. Etta debuted her version in 1961.
The writers of the song are Mack Gordon and Henry Warren, who penned a number of ‘40s hits, including “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” (the first gold record ever with sales of 1,200,000), “You’ll Never Know,” “The More I See You” and “I’ve Got a Gal In Kalamazoo,” all No. 1 singles.
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