The 1980s were a rough time for Etta James, who would spend most of the decade in the grip of substance abuse issues before finally getting clean. 1989 saw the start of her comeback with the release of Seven Year Itch, a knockout album of rough-edged, back-to-basics blues.
“Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” has become something of a genre standard, having been most famously recorded by blues legend Albert King and soul diva Ann Peebles, as well as everyone from Bob Seger and Bette Midler to Denise LaSalle and Millie Jackson. But nobody matches the passion and muscle of Etta’s version.
Here, the album version and a bonus clip, a ferocious performance of 51-year-old Etta singing it live at the Netherlands’ North Sea Jazz Festival in 1993 that gives a little glimpse of how playful and raunchy she could get in her stage act. Check her out, strutting around the stage, breathing fire and grinning like she knows something you don’t. More importantly, watch mama drop it and back it up fo’ ya!