Etta James, Music Legend And Voice Of The '95 Jaguar XJ, Dead At 73

January 20, 2012

Certain things in life are timeless, like the Jaguar XJ sedan, a good single-malt scotch, or the sultry voice of Etta James singing “At Last.”

Following a year-long battle with leukemia, Etta James has died, a few days short of her 74th birthday.

Although “At Last” was only used to advertise the 1995 Jaguar XJ (by then a somewhat unremarkable car), the powerful images used in the video seemed to resonate beyond a brief advertising campaign.

To this day, many of us view the song and the images of luxury, as well as the Jaguar XJ, as inseparable.

By the time “At Last” was used to pitch Jaguar’s flagship sedan, Jame’s career was beginning to enjoy a resurgence. Her voice could also be heard on American television (notably, in the series Northern Exposure) and in British advertising.

An inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, James’ talent had the ability to cross musical and cultural barriers. Like the Jaguar brand, she appealed to both white-collar and blue-collar fans.

Although it’s difficult to find the 1995 Jaguar ad that helped James’ career resurgence, those of us who remember it can still picture every frame.

After 16 years, we’d call that effective advertising.

Image credit: Wikipedia contributor Roland Godefroy, licensed under CC 3.0

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