Etta James: “I Just Want to Make Love to You”

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You know what that means. Flowers, candy, dinner, unmentionables, all red everything — or maybe yours won’t mean any of those things. Regardless of how you do Valentine’s Day, the right jazz music is key to setting the mood. So, for the next few weeks, we’re going to share some songs that you might want to consider adding to your playlist for that special night or weekend. Some are standards and others are songs that you might not be familiar with.


Etta James

“I Just Want to Make Love to You”


I don’t want you to be no slave

I don’t want you to work all day

But I want you to be true

And I just wanna make love to you

Love to you, ooohooo

Love to you


James put her own sassy spin on this tune that was originally a blues song written by Willie Dixon back in 1954. It was first recorded as “Just Make Love to Me” by Muddy Waters. James recorded it in 1961 as a b-side for her début album, At Last! How could you not like these flirty and very direct lyrics?!? And James’ voice is enough to make any coy lover come right out of their shell.

Born in Los Angeles, California, on January 25, 1938, James was a gospel prodigy by the age of 5. By the age of 12, she started a trio and was soon working with the bandleader Johnny Otis. She eventually went solo in 1955. The 60s brought on popular hits like “At Last”, “Sunday Kind of Love”, “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You”.

James was well known for her suggestive stage antics and sassy attitude. Her career lasted right up until a few years before her death. That career included 29 studio albums, six Grammys and her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

What’s your favorite song for Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments.

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