February 5, 2009

Etta James vs. Beyonce.

"I can't stand Beyonce! She's going to get her ass whooped... You know your president, the one with the big ears — he ain't my president — he had that woman singing for him at his Inauguration. How dare Beyonce sing my song that I been singing forever!"

***

Here's the audio of the recent rant.

And then there this audio — of perfection reached, long ago.

30 comments:

Original Mike said...

"You know your President, the one with the big ears, ..."

Did a lightning bolt strike her dead?

John said...

Etta has more soul and more talent in a heroid than Beyonce has in her entire body. Etta represents a now gone golden age of black cultural achievment. Beyonce is nothing but a fake and piece of cheesecake marketed to people who don't know good music when they hear it. Even though she is probably 80, Etta could kick Beyonce's ass. You go Etta!!!

Tibore said...

WTF??? Is she pissed at Beyonce's portrayal of her in Caddilac Records or something? Or just didn't like someone else performing her song at such a high profile event?

Bissage said...

Ms. James is a squeaky wheel looking for grease.

Which gives me an idea.

How about an Etta James/Beyonce Crisco Grudge Match?

Yeah, Boy-EEE!!!!

k*thy said...

Oh no, trouble in Diva-land.

Palladian said...

I'm Etta James, bitch!

Ann Althouse said...

@Tibore She must have felt that she deserved the honor and giving it to her imitator must have hurt terribly. I don't know what kinds of struggles James went through over the years -- enough to make a movie out of it -- but I'm thinking that she's lived the things Obama likes to talk about -- the Civil Rights Era, etc. To pick Beyonce was to embrace Hollywood celebrity and youthful beauty over something much more real. I can barely imagine how much that hurt.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

but I'm thinking that she's lived the things Obama likes to talk about -- the Civil Rights Era, etc. To pick Beyonce was to embrace Hollywood celebrity and youthful beauty over something much more real. I can barely imagine how much that hurt.

BINGO.

Obama and his team only want to pay lip service to those pioneers who struggled with discrimination that they can't even imagine.

"Yeah yeah, that's nice Etta all that sleeping in the bus and having to go to the bathroom outside...thanks for your service, but Beyonce is younger and much nicer to look at."

No one can top Etta James. Perfection indeed.

bagoh20 said...

Exactly Ann, but it does fit perfectly with this Obama movement of style over substance and throwing out quality just because it does not fit the aura. This man, and even more so his supporters are the definition of hubris. Although you voted for him due to a perceived superior approach to the economy. Hubris infects this administration and it is not compartmentalized. It will eventually be slapped down, but I expect severe mistakes to be made before that.

John said...

Yes Ann. Etta is the real deal and Obama is a phony. Is it any wonder that he took Beyonce over Etta?

Jeremy said...

Particularly given the theme of the song - At Last. Obviously the song is about a long-awaited love, no more tears, joy again. But on another level, the one that made this an obvious choice for the occasion, it's refering to At Last we (as an AA people) we are being rewarded, we've come through so much hardship, we can finally enter into joy. It seems a lot more significant when it's not coming from a 20-something-year-old starlet.

ballyfager said...

Someone suggested to me yesterday that he can't possibly live up to the absurd expectations that many people have of him.

As this becomes obvious, not only to the country but to him, we will see a very different side of his personality. He's gonna be one cranky sonofabitch.

P.S. I've never heard Beyonce, but I have heard Etta James sing "At Last". Case closed.

michael farris said...

More perfection from Etta James:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcwylnmACZ8

This has got to be in the all time top ten recordings. It crawls into your brain and just. won't. let. go.
With all due respect to Beyonce (a fine singer who still needs to learn that sometimes less is more) she just can't quite get the emotional mix Etta manages (devotion, despair, weariness, resignation and ultimately a kind of forgiveness).

Modern Otter said...

How about an Etta James/Beyonce Crisco Grudge Match?

...perhaps sharing the card with Hillary Duff/Faye Dunaway.

reader_iam said...

Miss Peaches turned 71 a week and a half ago.

reader_iam said...

From the comments at the linked article:

"Beyonce deserves credit for even giving Etta James the time of day."

Now, THAT'S what wrong with kids today!!!

Joe Hogan said...

Ann,
Try this live version by Etta, which seems to be of fairly recent vintage. The video sucks, but the performance is just gob smackingly good.

http://www.dailymotion.com/related/x1fv49_etta-james-at-last_music/video/x146pp_etta-james-at-last_music

John said...

"Now, THAT'S what wrong with kids today!!!"

No kidding. Ignorant mouth breathing little bastards.

FWIW, I always like Sunday Kind of Love better than At Last. Further, if BO had any taste or sense of history, he would have gotten someone to sing Part IV, Come Sunday, of Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige. But to have chosen that piece would have required Obama to have taste, culture and a sense of history, things which he appears to not to have. Never has a man been so unqual to a moment than Obama was to being elected the first black President. His choice of Beyonce, a souless medium talent Hollywood starlet, is sadly not surprising to anyone paying attention.

Bissage said...

Mini-Me: [writes] Are you a clone of an angel?

Foxxy Cleopatra: Ohhh, how sweet. No, my mini-man, I'm not.

Mini-Me: [writes] Are you sure you don't have a little clone in you?

Foxxy Cleopatra: Yes, I'm sure.

Mini-Me: [writes] Would you like to?

-- Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

Smilin' Jack said...

Obama choosing Beyonce over Etta James just goes to show what I've long suspected: black or not, the man has no soul.

Tibore said...

" Ann Althouse said...
To pick Beyonce was to embrace Hollywood celebrity and youthful beauty over something much more real. I can barely imagine how much that hurt."


Yeah, I think you're right. Just goes to show how shallow Washington politicians can be, embracing the flashy and glitzy artifice in place of the grittier and more profound groundings in reality. Forget about anything other than appearances. That's Washington for you.

----

As a digression: I've seen Etta James perform twice on television. I think one of those times was on one of PBS's music shows (Austin City Limits, I think? Or one of the other ones; Sessions at West 54th maybe??). Both times, she was terrific. That woman can belt! I have nothing against Beyoncé, but when compared to James, she comes off as overscripted and overproduced. That may not necessarily be her fault, but it's how she's coming off. Which is a shame, because she's genuinely got an incredible voice. From what little I've seen - I admit, I've only witnessed a small amount of her performances - there's a lot more glitz and flash in Beyoncé's shows, making them more spectacles than performances, but it doesn't have the vibe or the depth of an Etta James performance. James comes off as far more genuine, and displays far, far less edifice. At risk of sounding a cliché, James feels more real.

Which, like I said, is a shame. Give Beyoncé nothing more than a standing mic and a single spotlight - which is sort of what I've seen out of James - and she could still shine. She doesn't need the rest of that over-the-top stuff. Yet, she resorts to it. It's depressing.

Anyway, sure, Etta's shows may not be as spectacular, but they have more impact. That's the way I look at things. Once - just once - I'd like to see Beyoncé just do a simple show, no flashy choreography, no distractions from the music. Just her singing. She could hit it out of the park if she so chose to. Like Etta James does on a routine basis.

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

Etta James is still alive?

Michael said...

The term: Bitter old bitch comes to mind.

And her comment regarding Obama "not being her President" was really classy.

William said...

Was Etta James the first blonde haired black woman? Marvin Hagler, not Michael Jordan, was the first bald black man....Beau Brummel was the first man to change his underwear daily.....The caravan passes, the dogs bark, and then the night returns to silence. Etta expressed her time and her moment. Beyonce expresses our impression of Etta's moment....There was an artist in England who drew photo realistic pictures of pound notes. His imitations were worth more than the real thing. Art more often imitates art than life.

ricpic said...

Art more often imitates art than life.

A man goes to a tailor shop to get a new pair of trousers --

Tailor: Right. I've got all your measurements now, should be ready in two weeks.

Two weeks later--

Tailor: A bit tight in the crotch? No problem. I'll let it out a tad in front. Come back next week.

Next week --

Tailor: Baggy in the seat? Not to worry. I'll take in just a smidgen behind. See you in seven days.

Next week --

Man (exploding): Now the waist is riding up! No Sir! No Sir! I won't have it! It's a scandal! God Sir, God made the world in seven days and you can't make a pair of trousers fit in a month!!

Tailor (unperturbed): Ah yes, Sir. But look at the world, Sir, (stares lovingly at trousers) and look at my trousers.

dick said...

Reminds me of a young friend of mine telling me that Janet Jackson put on the best performance of all time. I was just flabbergasted. If she did not have all the lights and amps, she would be just a whiny little kid.

rhhardin said...

I can't figure out what's going on. Probably because I have never heard of any of them.

The audience reaction makes no sense either.

Methadras said...

Leave Beyonce ALONE!!! Leave her ALONE!!! Right NOW!!! I MEAN IT!!!

Monkey said...

Etta James shouldn't be too surprised that someone covered her uber popular song...

best said...
This comment has been removed by the author.