Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Yvonne Staples, Member and Manager of the Staple Singers, Dies at 80

Yvonne Staples, Member and Manager of the Staple Singers, Dies at 80

Yvonne Staples, who sang alongside her family in the gospel-soul group the Staple Singers, has died aged 80, of colon cancer she was diagnosed with just two weeks ago.

Staples, who joined her sisters Mavis and Cleotha on hits like "Respect Yourself", "I'll Take You There" and "Heavy Makes You Happy", died at her home this week, the Chicago-Sun Times reported.

A rep for Staples' sister Mavis Staples confirmed Yvonne Staples' passing.

Mavis Staples (R) and Yvonne Staples (L) perform after they and the rest of the Staples Singers accepted their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the 14th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, March 15.

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The Staple Singers were formed in 1948 by the patriarch of the family, Roebuck "Pops" Staples. It was also during this time that Yvonne became a permanent part of the group, after having previously filled in for Pervis while he was in the service. From left were Pervis, Cleotha, Pops, Mavis and Yvonne Staples.

The family began singing in churches at the start of their career. The Staple Singers had a string of Top 40 hits with Stax in the late 1960s, earning them the nickname "God's greatest hitmakers". "Respect Yourself" reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1971, "I'll Take You There reached No. 1 in 1972, and "Let's Do It Again" was a No. 1 hit in 1975".

In 1999, the singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for delivering music with a message, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's website.

The Staple Singers performed with the Band on their legendary concert for the film "The Last Waltz". The group were awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2005 for their "soulful voices, righteous conviction and danceable message music across the decades". Cleotha Staples died in 2013.

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