[JPL] A tribute to Etta James from married couples.

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Fri Jan 27 11:02:41 EST 2012

'At Last' is our song: Thank you, Etta James

(CNN) -- The familiar string intro filled the room. The happy couple 
stepped onto the dance floor. And as they took each other's arms, Etta 
James' voice began to tell the story of their marriage.

"At last ... "

"We had waited so long to meet the right person," recalled Jennifer 
Macdonel of Sugar Land, Texas, who married her husband, Rudy, in March 
2010. She was 32, and he was 41. "It seemed as if everyone we knew was 
already married, or had been married before. Just when we thought that 
we had kissed every frog left in the universe and given up on true love, 
we met."

It's a fairy tale scene that's been witnessed at thousands of weddings 
since James' recording of the classic, romantic song "At Last" was 
released in 1961. And though James died on January 20 at age 73, her 
legacy lives on in couples around the world. After her death, many of 
them paid tribute to the woman who described their relationships like no 
one else could.

Jennifer and Rudy Macdonel "waited so long to meet the right person," 
says Jennifer, so it was only appropriate that "At Last" be their 
wedding song.

When the Macdonels heard that James had died, they honored her by 
rewatching their wedding video and dancing under the stars to the song 
she made famous.

"No other song could possibly capture the story behind our love, and the 
very long journey that we endured until we finally met," Jennifer 
Macdonel said. "Etta James will forever live deep in our souls, as every 
time we watch our wedding video and hear that song, we will be reminded 
of our special day."

Many other couples chose "At Last" as their song for the same reason.

"My wife and I were born just a month apart in 1977 across the world," 
said Nicholas Montana, an American whose wife, Leily Vassigh-Montana, is 
from Iran. "It wasn't 'til we were both at the age of 30 did we meet and 
marry six months later. 'At Last' seemed like a song that was meant to 
be, just like our intertwining fates."

Nicholas hadn't heard the song before the couple had to choose a piece 
for their first dance as husband and wife, but "was taken by its 
emotional character and lyrics. Little did I know it was such a popular 
wedding song, and rightfully so," he said. The pair were married in 
April 2008 and now live in Miami.

"We wish [James'] family to be proud that she was able to bring so much 
joy to many couples around the world," he added.

For other couples, the song was a humorous nod to long courtships that 
their families thought would never end at the altar.

When Kimberly Griffiths and her husband, Richard Cicciarelli, stepped 
onto the dance floor to the first strains of "At Last," their wedding 
guests burst out laughing. The pair had dated for nine years before 
finally getting married in July 2008 in upstate New York.

"As the music started and the first words of 'At Last' blasted over the 
speakers, everyone laughed and clapped because they all knew it was a 
long journey for us," Griffiths said.

"It was the perfect fit. It was one of my favorite songs," she said. 
"It's so soulful and tells exactly how I feel about the relationship 
with my husband. ... No one could reproduce the feeling that Etta 
conveys when she sings it."

"At Last" was the soundtrack to Tina and Craig Wehrbein's engagement and 
wedding, so of course they had to go see James live when she performed 
in their city of Omaha, Nebraska, in 2007.

"We couldn't wait to go see her sing our song live on stage," Tina 
wrote. "She was in her late sixties at the time, but wow -- what an 
entertainer she was! I was pregnant with our second child when we saw 
her, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the concert like a teenager!"

Another couple had a different kind of message in mind when they chose 
"At Last" for their wedding. Jasmine Brown-Denny married her husband, 
Randy Denny, in September 2009. The Brooklyn, New York, couple chose the 
song because it seemed to describe their relationship -- and to honor 
President Barack Obama.

"The song also signified the inauguration of the first African American 
president," Brown-Denny said. "We were both big supporters of President 
Obama and his campaign and excitedly watched several inauguration balls 
where the song played prominently." She remembers staying up all night 
watching the president and first lady Michelle Obama dance the night 
away at the inaugural balls.

"When we chose the song, we had the first family in mind."

And for Jenn Greenberg, "At Last" was always her wedding song. She knew 
from the time she was 10 years old that it would be played at her wedding.

"My mom would play this song, as a record, when I was a little girl and 
I thought it was so romantic," said the Epping, New Hampshire, resident. 
"I would listen to it and piece together all the traits and things that 
would make the perfect husband. I've always known that 'At Last' would 
be the song I'd want to use as my wedding song with my husband."

In June 2006, Greenberg married her husband, Dave, and finally got to 
dance to her -- and thousands of couples' -- perfect wedding song. All 
thanks to Etta James.

Dr. Jazz
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SKYPE:  drjazz99

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