Yvonne Staples dies at 80
Yvonne Staples, longtime member of the Staple Singers, died on Tuesday (Apr. 10) in her Chicago home aged 80. The cause of death was colon cancer, according to The New York Times.
The Staple Singers were formed in 1948 by the patriarch of the family, Roebuck “Pops” Staples. He was originally joined by his children Cleotha, Pervis and Mavis. After Pervis left to serve in the military in 1971, Yvonne stepped in to fill his place.
The family began singing in churches at the start of their career. The Staples were signed to multiple record labels including Epic and Stax Records. The group landed their first hit under Stax with “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom)” in 1971.
In the following year, the group’s most recognized song “I’ll Take You There” topped the Billboard R&B and Billboard Hot 100 charts. Another hit titled “Respect Yourself” peaked at the second and 12th spot on the Billboard R&B and Billboard Hot 100 charts respectively. “Let’s Do It Again,” released in 1975, also became a pop hit in the U.S.
The Staple Singers received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the recording academy declared that they “left an imprint of soulful voices, righteous conviction and danceable message music across the decades.”
Pops Staples passed away in 2000, while Yvonne’s sister Cleotha died after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s in 2013. Hence Mavis Staples is the only surviving member of the group.