The Staple Singers—Pervis, Cleotha, Pops, Mavis and Yvonne—at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City. Yvonne Staples, whose voice and business acumen powered the success of her family’s Staples Singers gospel group, has died at age 80.
Photo: Albert Ferreira (AP Images)

Yvonne Staples, who served both as a background vocalist and as the business manager for her family’s musical group the Staple Singers, died Tuesday of colon cancer at her home in Chicago. She was 80 years old.

Her death was confirmed to the New York Times by family friend Bill Carpenter.

The Staple Singers were formed in 1948 by Roebuck “Pops” Staples, who was joined by his children Pervis, Mavis and Cleotha. Their style was a blend of gospel, soul and pop, and the group had big hits with “Respect Yourself,” “Let’s Do It Again” and “I’ll Take You There.”


Yvonne joined the group in 1971 when Pervis left for military service.

When sister Mavis embarked on a solo career during the 1980s, Yvonne was a backup singer for her, too.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2005 they received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. They were also the recipients of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award.

Born Oct. 23, 1937, to Pops and Oceola Staples in Chicago, Yvonne was preceded in death by her mother, father and sister Cleotha. She is survived by her brother, Pervis, and her sister Mavis.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

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