Hundreds of friends, family and some famous faces paid tribute to legendary singer Etta James Saturday at the City of Refuge church outside Los Angeles, Calif.
Christina Aguilera sang an incredible rendition of one of James’ best known hits, “At Last.”
“There’s a line in this song that says, ‘I found a dream that I could speak to,’” said Aguilera. “And for me that dream all my life has been Etta James. I’ve aspired to sing like her, to be like her, to emulate her notes and her passion and the love for what she did – I could feel it. Out of all the singers I’ve ever heard, she was the one that cut right to my soul and spoke to me.”
Stevie Wonder performed his song “Shelter in the Rain,” a harmonica solo, and led mourners in a rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized James, quoting a statement from President Barack Obama, “Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation’s musical heritage.”
Sharpton called James a “bridge over troubled water.”
James was buried after the service at Inglewood Park Cemetery.
James died from complications of leukemia. She had been diagnosed with chronic leukemia in January 2011. Court records show the 73-year-old entertainer also suffered from dementia and kidney failure.
Throughout her career, James has released 30 albums and 58 singles. She has explored the musical genres of gospel, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz.
James was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2008.
In 2003, James received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was awarded six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards, and was named No. 22 on Rolling Stones’ 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.