Crusader Staff Report
Yvonne Staples, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the famous Chicago gospel group The Staple Singers, died in her home in South Shore on Tuesday, April 11. She was 80.
Funeral arrangements had not been announced by Leak & Sons Funeral Home as of Crusader press time, on Wednesday, April 11.
Staples was born in Chicago on Oct. 23, 1937, to Oceola, and Roebuck Staples who was known as “Pops.” Her father formed the Staple Singers with his children Pervis, Mavis and Cleotha in 1948. The group infused gospel-funk with rhythm and blues.
In Chicago, the group performed throughout the city and traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.
Yvonne joined the group in 1971, when Pervis left for military service.
The Staple Singers group scored 10 Top 10 R&B hits over the course of the 1970s. “Respect Yourself” reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1971 and “I’ll Take You There” was No. 1 in 1972. In 1975, ”Let’s Do It Again,” produced by the great soul singer Curtis Mayfield, was No.1.
In 1999, the Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a year before “Pops” Staples died. In 2005, the Staple Singers received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy Awards. The recording academy said the Staple Singers “left an imprint of soulful voices, righteous conviction and danceable message music across the deca- des.”
The Staple Singers recorded more than 30 albums, but their greatest chart successes were on Stax Records.
In Chicago, the Staples were known for their annual Fourth of July barbeque that drew friends and gospel legends Mahalia Jackson, Albertina Walker and Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler.