Like the Jackson 5 and many other groups that formed in their time of prominence, the Staples Singers were a group of siblings assembled by their father, after he took note of the vocal ability they displayed through their work with the local church choir. The original formation of the band came in 1948, when Roebuck “Pops” Staples got Cleotha, Mavis and Pervis to together to hone their craft in lead up to the group’s first recordings in 1953.
Initially, Yvonne wasn’t a permanent member of the act. But that all changed when she replaced Pervis upon his entry into the armed forces to fight in Vietnam. Her inception into the successful Staples Singers time-line afforded the baritone songstress the opportunity to get in prior to the release of their hit rendition of “Respect Yourself,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list between 1971 and 1972.
The group would go on to chart 10 top 10 hits in R&B categories throughout the decade, but eventually wound up drifting into obscurity with the more up-tempo electronic sounds of disco music usurping the genre in lead up to the 1980’s.
Nevertheless, the Staples had by then made their mark with five Grammy nominations and eventual acknowledgment from the coveted ceremony, when they were granted the lifetime achievement award in 2005. The distinction came six years after she was inducted along with her family into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Yvonne Staples was 80 years old.
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