Yvonne Staples of Staples Singers has passed away after a tough battle with colon cancer, a family friend confirmed on Tuesday, April 10.
She died in her home in Chicago surrounded by family and friends. She was 80 years old.
Life And Career
Yvonne launched to fame as a member of the Staples Singers, a group that blends gospel music with soul and pop. Her father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, formed the group with his children Pervis, Mavis, and Cleotha back in 1948.
Yvonne joined Staples Singers in 1971, when Pervis left for the military. Around that time, the group has released several popular singles including "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It," both of which peaked at the top of Billboard's songs charts in the United States.
Chicago Tribune reports that, aside from singing, Yvonne had other hobbies and interests. She worked briefly as a secretary and volunteered at a hospital for the mentally ill.
However, she had to leave all that behind and rejoin the Staples Singers back in the late '60s, when the group was hoping to break into the mainstream with Stax Records.
"Pressure? I didn't feel any pressure," she said in an interview. "When Daddy asked us to do something, we did it. No questions asked."
When Pop's died in 2000, the group dissolved, but she continued to support her siblings. Yvonne continued to provide background vocals for her younger sister Mavis when she explored a solo career. She also served as Mavis's tour manager until her final years.
At the time of her death, Bill Carpenter, a family friend, assured fans that Yvonne was pretty much retired.
Yvonne and the Staples Singers played a huge part in the civil rights movement during the '60s. They created songs that became a guiding force for the new dawn of the African-American communities in the United States. The siblings often performed at the rallies led by Martin Luther King Jr.
"The Staples' evolved from gospel music to soulful pop, delivering hits in both genres," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described the group on its website. "The family group's music was a vehicle for social activism, positive change and love."
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Yvonne Staples, Otis' labelmate on Stax Records, and member of the legendary group, The Staple Singers. Our thoughts are with her friends & family. - Team Otis Redding : Yvonne (right) with her sister, Mavis. #YvonneStaples pic.twitter.com/fePQqQarUe — Otis Redding (@OtisRedding) April 10, 2018
The meaning of making music-intangible. Thanking Ms @MavisStaples & Ms YvonneStaples .Making Ms Yvonne feel so special as she honored us with her presence GiveWeThePride was made to answer the Gun violence in CHI 2014-. Ms Yvonne we love you-Your Nephew https://t.co/Hy5pdpCgf7 — Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 11, 2018
Yes indeed queen . May the most high bless her beautiful soul. And her Music legacy will live on.#YvonneStaples pic.twitter.com/xlO9JjnvFO — Don Salmon (@dijoni) April 11, 2018
IN LOVING MEMORY; Miss. Yvonne Staples #StapleSingers Thank You, for sharing your Gift with the World, we're forever grateful#RIPYvonneStaples ️️ pic.twitter.com/03mfpbVXAh — LOLITA COOKIE WRIGHT (@MISSCOOKIE1223) April 11, 2018
Yvonne Staples, a longtime member of the Staple Singers who enjoyed a series of funky gospel-inflected hits in the 1970s, has died at age 80 from colon cancer. pic.twitter.com/ImVPrryQ6u — Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) April 10, 2018