Tributes for Etta James Came From Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder, Obama
Stars turned up at the funeral of jazz legend Etta James to pay their last respect. Christina Aguilera, clad in black suit, gave a soulful rendition of the late singer's most famous hit, "At Last", in front of 300 mourners at Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena, California on Saturday, January 28. She earned a standing ovation.
"It was so emotional," Aguilera told CNN after the funeral. "I went through the lyrics last night, and I did rehearsal ...and it took on a whole new meaning having been invited by her close friends and family to sing that classic song at her service. And I started crying every time I started to sing it, and I thought, 'My gosh, what if that happens tomorrow? I just want to do justice to Etta James. She meant the whole world to me, and it was a huge honor to be here today."
Another performer, Stevie Wonder, gave a musical tribute to James who died January 20 at the age of 73. He sang his own hit "Shelter in the Rain" accompanied by his electronic keyboard. He also sang "The Lord's Prayer" and played his harmonica.
Meanwhile, Rev. Al Sharpton said in his eulogy, "Etta James helped break down the culture curtain of America before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She was able to get us to sing the same rhythms and melodies." Sharpton later read a note from President Barack Obama, "Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation's musical heritage."
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