The Staple Singers Biography
The Staple Singers is an American vocal group that was one of the most successful gospel-to-pop crossover acts ever, collecting several Top 20 hits in the early 1970s. The members included Roebuck (“Pops”) Staples, Mavis Staples, Cleotha Staples, Pervis Staples, and Yvonne Staples. They are best known for their 1970s hits “Respect Yourself”, “I’ll Take You There”, “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”, and “Let’s Do It Again”. While the family name is Staples, the group used “Staple” commercially.
In 1952, they signed their first professional contract. They recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with different companies during their early career, including United Records, Vee-Jay Records (their “Uncloudy Day” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” were successful sellers), Checker Records, Riverside Records, and finally Epic Records in 1965.
The Staples’ transfer to Epic resulted in a string of recordings, including the live in-church Freedom Highway album, which was produced by Billy Sherrill and featured a civil rights movement protest song written by Pops Staples as the title track. With “Why (Am I Being Treated So Badly)” and “For What It’s Worth” (Stephen Stills) in Epic in 1967, the Staple Singers adopted a style more acceptable to mass audiences. The Staple Singers signed with Stax Records in 1968 and released two albums with Steve Cropper—Soul Folk in Action and We’ll Get Over—with Pervis returning to produce them.
“Respect Yourself,” written by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice and recorded in late 1971, reached number two on the Billboard R&B chart and number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both songs were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America after selling over one million copies. The song’s concept of self-empowerment was universally appealing when it was published in the aftermath of the 1960s’ civil rights movement in the United States. “I’ll Take You There” was the number one song on both Billboard charts in 1972. “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” peaked at number 9 on the Hot 100 and first on the R&B chart in 1973.
Following Stax’s bankruptcy in 1975, The Staple Singers went to Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records and released “Let’s Do It Again,” which became their second number-one pop hit in the United States, and the album was also a hit. They collaborated with The Band on the song “The Weight” for the film The Last Waltz in 1976. (which The Staple Singers had previously covered on their first Stax album). They were unable to recoup their momentum, and only released sporadic modest hits. Turning Point, released in 1984, featured a cover of Talking Heads‘ “Slippery People,” which charted in the Top 5 on the Dance chart.
Pops Staples died in December 2000 as a result of complications from a concussion. Cleotha Staples died on February 21, 2013, in Chicago, at the age of 78, following a decade of Alzheimer’s disease. Mavis Staples has continued the family legacy by contributing her vocal abilities to both other artists’ projects and her own solo endeavors. Yvonne Staples, who was 80 years old at the time of her death, died on April 10, 2018. Pervis Staples died abruptly on May 6, 2021, at the age of 85, in his home in Dolton, Illinois, leaving Mavis as the band’s final remaining member.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Staple Singers Known For?
The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B group who recorded and performed together for more than three decades. The group was founded in Chicago in 1948 by Roebuck “Pops” Staples on guitar and lead vocals, Cleotha Staples on lead vocals, Pervis Staples on bass and drums, and Mavis Staples on lead vocals and piano. The group’s music incorporated elements of gospel, soul, blues, and pop.
Who Is The Lead Of The Staple Singers?
The lead singer of the Staple Singers was a woman named Mavis Staples. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 10, 1939. Mavis Staples was the daughter of Roebuck “Pops” Staples, the group’s guitarist and founder, and she began singing with her family when she was just a child. The Staple Singers were a hugely successful gospel group in the 1950s and 1960s, and they also crossed over into the pop charts with hits like “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.” Mavis Staples continued to sing with the group until their dissolution in 1988, and she has since pursued a solo career. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
When Did The Staple Singers Start Singing?
The Staple Singers began singing together as a family group in the early 1940s. They first gained attention with their gospel music, but later crossed over into the pop and soul genres. The group had a number of hit songs throughout their career, including “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.” The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
What Is The Staple Singers Chronicle Album Popularity?
The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul and R&B group who recorded and performed together for over 50 years. The group was founded in Chicago in 1931 by Roebuck “Pops” Staples on lead guitar and vocals, Cleotha Staples on vocals, Pervis Staples on bass and Luther Staples on drums. The Staples family members have been credited with helping to spread gospel music around the world and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.