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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (1961 – 1976, 2005 – present)

LaBelle is an American R&B/soul group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, who successfully melded dance music with funk and glam rock. Mostly active in the 60s and 70s disband but reformed in 2005. Their most recognised song is “Lady Marmalade”. The group was led by Patti LaBelle, who later had a successful solo career. Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Cindy Birdsong rounded out the group, with Hendryx especially notable as a prolific songwriter.

In 1961, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash of the Del Capris joined Patricia Holt and Sandra Tucker as replacement singers for Holt’s singing group, The Ordettes. When Tucker’s parents made her leave the group, she was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. Patricia Holt had her name changed to Patti LaBelle after the group became The Bluebelles. Though the first single was “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman” (released as the Bluebelles), LaBelle relays in her memoir (Don’t Block The Blessings) that the group didn’t actually perform on the original track. As she tells it, the song’s producer had recorded it with Starlets and renamed them the Bluebelles, but the group left upon the single’s release. He quickly recruited the Ordettes to perform and promote the single using the Bluebells’ moniker, and “I Sold My Heart To The Junkman” was later recut by the new group.

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