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Johnny Otis, Rhythm & Blues icon was 90

Friday, January 20, 2012

imageAs the son of Greek immigrant parents growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Vallejo in the 1920s, the pioneering R&B singer, songwriter, bandleader and disc jockey made an early choice in life that he’d rather be black. And that put him on a path steeped in African-American culture and music that eventually landed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Otis died in the Los Angeles area Tuesday, at age 90. His body of work included the 1958 hit, “Willie and the Hand Jive.” Obituary: LA Times

And speaking of icons: Etta James, the legendary singer, died this morning in a Riverside hospital at age 73. She had been in failing health for several years. AP has an early obit. Here’s the song you’ll be hearing all day, but it’s worth an extra listen.

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