Mavis Staples

31 Aug

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Mavis Staples was born in 1939 and is a music legend that transcends categorization. She began her career at the age of 9, when she first began performing with her father’s family band, the Staple Singers. Roebuck β€œPops” Staples formed the Staple Singers in 1948 after having trouble getting outside band members to show up for practice. To solve his frustration, he formed a group with his children Cleotha, Purvis, Yvonne, and Mavis. They played at local churches in the Chicago area where they lived. One day Roebuck befriended Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Staple Singers became integrally involved in the civil rights movement. Along with Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin they became the movement’s musical conscience. They recorded at Stax records with Booker T and the MG’s as their backup band, but it wasn’t until 1969 That Mavis recorded her first solo album.

Bob Dylan wanted to marry Mavis Staples, at one point, which could be a strong reason for the Staple Singers inclusion in the Band’s feature film, β€œThe Last Waltz.” Radio hits like β€œRespect Yourself” and β€œI’ll Take You There,” established the Staple Singers in the mainstream music world. Mavis continued to release solo records at the same time that she was part of the Staple Singers, until the death of her father in 2000. Over the course of her career, she’s recorded more than 40 albums and achieved every music accolade from a Grammy Award to induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Although she’s in her 8th decade of life, as of 2012 she’s still performing and recording.

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