Etta James says she was mocking Beyonce for laughs

February 6, 2009 7:00:42 PM PST
Etta James says she was joking when she said she "can't stand Beyonce" and would "whip" the singer for performing James' hit "At Last" at an inaugural ball for President Barack Obama. The 71-year-old singer tells the New York Daily News she "didn't really mean anything" by her remarks at a concert last week.

James says: "Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude. ... That's probably what went into it."

Even so, James says it stung that she wasn't asked to sing her most famous song on the historic night.

James says she liked Beyonce's version but thinks she could have done a better job. She says it's "a shame to say that."

Beyonce portrayed James - and sang the 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren - in the film "Cadillac Records" last year.

Beyonce's spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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