Yvonne Staples Of The Legendary "Staples Singers" Dead At Age 80

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Yvonne Staples, who provided background vocals for her family's hit-making pop and soul group, the Staple Singers, while taking the lead in managing its business affairs, died on Tuesday at her home in Chicago.

The family was also active in the civil rights movement and performed at the request of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The group eventually began recording secular soul and R&B music, and scored a series of major hits during the 1970s, including the chart-topping singles "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again". Yvonne joined the Staples Singers in 1970, replacing her brother Pervis in the group's lineup.

She performed with her sisters, along with their father, guitarist Roebuck "Pops" Staples, in churches across the South Side of Chicago before cutting records and expanding beyond the Windy City in 1953.

Yvonne and the Staples were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Gospel Hall of Fame this year along with receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.


The Staple Singers moved to Stax in 1967 where the would find their greatest success.

The family's music career had its roots with Pops Staples, a manual labourer who strummed a guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained in the evenings.

She harmonized expertly with her sisters and they enjoyed a strong run of hits, usually in tandem with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section in Alabama. "But when it came to business she was very strict". You've got to get up. "It woke me up".

"She didn't want to talk about her own singing", he added.

Mavis Staples, 78, the remaining Staples sister, continues to perform and is now touring for her latest album, "If All I Was Was Black". When Mavis and (Bob) Dylan did that old Jimmie Rodgers routine on that gospel record they did together (in 2003), Yvonne's credit was "encouragement.' I don't think it could've been said any better".

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