2. Etta James: January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012
This songbird is credited with bridging the gap between Rock-and-Roll and R&B. Her mega hit “At Last” enjoyed crossover success and appealed to a wide range of music lovers and ethnicities. Her story was showcased in the 2008 movie Cadillac Records. In her lifetime, she received over 30 awards from eight different organizations including The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Blues Hall of Fame and The Grammy Hall of Fame. She is ranked #22 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list. She was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2011.