The beloved tune, which seems to be played or performed at 97% of all wedding receptions, was, without a doubt, James's signature song. But that didn't stop countless singers from covering it.
Over the years, everybody from Judy Garland to Mariah Carey to Celine Dion have taken a shot at the classic. It's worth noting that James herself wasn't the original singer. The tune was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1941 for a film called "Orchestra Wives." Ray Eberle and Pat Friday were the original singers.
"At Last" came back into the spotlight in 2009, during the inauguration of President Obama. The President and first lady Michelle Obama danced to the tune at various inauguration balls. Beyonce Knowles, who played James in "Cadillac Records," performed the song for the president, which drew a bit of ire from James.
During a performance in Seattle, James told the crowd, "You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain't my president. He might be yours, he ain't my president. You know that woman he had singing for him, singing my song -- she's gonna get her a** whipped. The great Beyonce ... But I can't stand Beyonce. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol' president day ... singing my song that I've been singing forever."
Watch Beyonce sing 'At Last' in "Cadillac Records."
James later said she was just joking, but she also added that she was disappointed that she wasn't asked to sing for the president. James is survived by her husband Artis Mills, two sons, four grandchildren, and a legacy that will no doubt inspire many imitators in the years to come.
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- Etta James
- Beyonce Knowles