Yvonne Staples of The Staple Singers Passes Away at 80

Phillip Cunningham
April 12, 2018

Photo From left, Pops, Cleo, Yvonne and Mavis Staples performed in the 1970s.

Below, watch a video of The Staple Singers performing "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There" at their RRHoF induction ceremony.

She performed with her sisters, MAVIS, CLEOTHA, and their father ROBUCK "POPS" STAPLES. Together, the group crossed the lines between gospel, pop, funk and soul. She began singing at a young age in church with her sister Mavis and brother Pervis.

The group received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2005 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. "The family group's music was a vehicle for social activism, positive change and love".

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

Between 1971 to 1975, the Staples Singers cracked the Top 40 eight times. She was 80 years old.

If generosity is putting others before oneself, then Yvonne Staples was the living embodiment of the virtue. She also has an upcoming concert at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, N.Y., in August.

But when her father died in 2000, Mavis nearly gave up on music.

"Yvonne got me", Mavis Staples later said.

"Pressure? I didn't feel any pressure", she said in an interview. You've got to get up.

The group's output slowed from a flood to a trickle in the 1980s, by which point Mavis was becoming a star in her own right. "But she was the eagle eye that saw every move somebody would make before they made it. ..."

The family also became active in the civil rights movement after hearing the Reverend Martin Luther King junior deliver a sermon while they were on tour in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1962.

The group could have been Yvonne's runway to stardom, and it was one that Mavis used to become a national R&B treasure herself.

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