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Date Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 10:51:48am
In reply to: Dies at 80 's message, "Yvonne Staples, R&B and soul singer of "The Staple Singers"" on Tuesday, April 10, 10:30:05am

Yvonne Staples, whose baritone helped propel the Staple Singers to the top of the music charts and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, has died at home in South Shore at age 80, a Chicago funeral home confirmed Tuesday.

Yvonne performed on hits including “Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There” and “Heavy Makes You Happy” with her sisters Mavis and Cleotha and their father, guitarist Pops Staples.

Yvonne was born in Chicago to Pops and Oceola Staples, who both had Mississippi roots. She started singing with Mavis and their brother Pervis in the 1940s at their uncle’s church. They lived near 89th and Langley, where they used to host an annual Fourth of July barbecue that drew friends and stars, including Mahalia Jackson and Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler

The Staple Singers wove together gospel, pop, funk and soul. Their greatest chart successes were on Stax Records in the early 1970s. And their performance was a highlight of the film “Wattstax,” a documentary of a 1972 Los Angeles concert dubbed the “Black Woodstock.”

They toured the world and were active in the civil rights movement and symbols of black pride. They received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Legions and legends were fans, including Bob Dylan. In 2001, he told Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra and WTTW about hearing them for the first time: “We’d listen to the radio, usually late in the evening. ‘Dragnet’ and ‘FBI.’ ‘Peace and War,’ ‘Inner Sanctum’ and ‘Jack Benny.’ And then after the radio shows would come on, we used to pick up the station out of Shreveport [La.] and they used to play rhythm and blues, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Junior Parker, and Muddy [Waters] and [Howlin’] Wolf and all that. But then at midnight the gospel stuff would start. I got to be acquainted with the Swan Silvertones and the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Highway QC’s and all that. But the Staple Singers came on … and they were so different.”

Pops Staples died in 2000 and Cleotha died in 2013.

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Subject Author Date
Was to be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame with her family on May 8, 2018. (NT)The family already was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement AwardTuesday, April 10, 11:04:22am

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