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Yvonne Staples, Member and Manager of the Staple Singers, Dies at 80

Yvonne Staples, Member and Manager of the Staple Singers, Dies at 80


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

Courtesy of the Staples family

Yvonne Staples, who provided background vocals for her family’s hit-making pop and soul group, the Staple Singers, while taking the lead in managing its business affairs, died on Tuesday at her home in Chicago. She was 80.

The cause was colon cancer, said Bill Carpenter, a family friend.

Ms. Staples began singing with her family’s act in 1971 and performed on some of their biggest hits, including “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.”

“She was very content in that role,” said Mr. Carpenter, the author of “Uncloudy Day: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia.” “She had no desire to be a front singer, even though people in the family told her she had a great voice.”

Ms. 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. They performed in churches in and around Chicago, toured the South and became active in the civil rights movement, traveling with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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