In 1960 Etta James released her debut album Miss Etta James, and in the following years she had numerous big hits. By 1965 James was struggling with her career, and her songs were not appearing on the charts as they had been before - eventually she took a break from recording. In 1967 she returned to the studio and recorded her comeback hit Tell Mama. The song was an answer record inspired by Clarence Carter's song Tell Papa. That song was Carter's solo debut, and it was number 35 on the R&B charts at the time James recorded Tell Mama - which she credited Carter as a writer on. Tell Mama hit number 10 on the R&B charts, and it wasn't long before the song was being covered by other artists including Janis Joplin and Steppenwolf. Because of the success of song's huge success, James was once again an in-demand concert performer, and she continued to hit the charts through the mid-1970's.
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