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The Staple Singers

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Biography

Chicago, United States (1948 – 1994)

The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B singing group from Chicago who signed their first professional contract in 1952. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (1934–2013), Pervis (b. 1935), Yvonne (b. 1936), and Mavis (b. 1939). They are best-remembered 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”. In 1999 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2005 the group was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The family began appearing in Chicago-area churches in 1948, and signed their first professional contract in 1952. They signed with United Records, then Vee-Jay, Riverside, Epic and, eventually, the black-owned indie Stax Records label where they hit their most fertile commercial peak.

In 1967, on Columbia subsidiary Epic, the Staple Singers first began moving into mainstream pop markets with “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” and “For What It’s Worth” (written by Stephen Stills). In 1968, the Staple Singers signed to Stax and released two albums recorded with Steve Cropper of Booker T & The MG’s fame - Soul Folk in Action and We’ll Get Over. By 1970, Al Bell had become producer, and the family began recording at the famed Muscle Shoals studio, moving in a more funk and soul direction. The first Stax hit was “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)”. In 1972, the group had a No. 1 hit in the United States with “I’ll Take You There.” Their 1972 recording on Stax of “Respect Yourself,” written by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice, was number 2 on the R&B charts and a pop hit as well.

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