Etta James & The Peaches (San Francisco, California)

    Personnel :

    Etta James "Jamesetta Hawkins"

    Jean Mitchell

    Abbysinia "Abbye" Mitchell

    Discography :

    Etta James & The Peaches
    1955 - The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry) / Hold Me, Squeeze Me (Modern 947) 

    1955 - The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) / Hold Me, Squeeze Me (Modern 947)

    Etta James bb The Peaches
    1955 - Hey Henry / Be Mine (Modern 957)

    Biography :

    Etta James, whose real name was Jamesetta Hawkins, was born on 25 January 1938 in Los Angeles, USA.  When she was twelve, her family moved to San Francisco and here she developed a strong interest in Rhythm and Blues, being particularly influenced by Billie Holiday. She decided that she too wanted to pursue a professional career as a songstress, and formed a singing trio 'The Creolettes' with two girlfriends.


    She was only fourteen when they went for an audition with the famous band-leader Johny Otis. It was a successful audition and landed them a recording deal with Modern Records. Jamesetta agreed to change her name to the more catching anagram, Etta James, the Creolettes took on her nickname 'Peaches', and, in 1954, they were in Los Angeles for the recording. It was the start of what was to be an immensely successful and equally volatile career.


    The song they recorded was the same one they had performed for the audition, a song inspired by the current chart-topper by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. It was called 'Work With Me Annie', but Etta James and the Peaches, deciding this song was too tame for them, had transformed it into the more suggestive 'Roll With Me Henry'.

    This, however, was too wild for the moralistic atmosphere of the Nineteen-Fifties, and so, after receiving objections from several Radio Programmers, the title had to be changed to 'Wallflower'. While agreeing to these changes however, Etta James did not compromise with the soulfully seductive quality of the song, and it proved to be an instant hit, reaching the second place on the 1955 R&B Charts.  It received further impetus when Georgia Gibbs, a well-known singer of the period, did a more sedate cover version that was recorded as 'Dance With Me, Henry'. This version reached the number one spot. Shortly after this, the Peaches split and Etta James sailed on to a solo career.

    Songs :

    The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)            Hold Me, Squeeze Me

    Hey Henry                                                Be Mine




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