Legendary R&B singer Sarah Dash, a founding member of 1970s power trio Labelle, died Monday at the age of 76.
Labelle’s publicist confirmed Dash’s death to Variety.
Trenton, New Jersey, Mayor Reed Guscoria paid tribute to the city’s native daughter on his Facebook page, writing, “Our resident legend and Trenton’s very first music ambassador, Sarah Dash, has passed away… Our motto, ‘Trenton Makes, the World Takes’ was alive and well with Sarah. What Sarah made was beautiful music refined by a lifetime of experience and numerous contributions to the arts and the community. What the world takes is a timeless inspiration of a woman who touched the highest peaks of stardom and never forgot where she came from.”
Meanwhile, singer Patti LaBelle noted in a Monday evening Twitter post that she and her former bandmate performed together just two days ago.
“Sarah Dash was an awesomely talented, beautiful and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can say. … I am heart broken as I know all of her loved ones and fans are,” LaBelle wrote.
According to USA Today, Dash began her singing career in church with gospel music and formed her first professional group, the Del Capris, with Nona Hendryx in the 1960s. Dash and Hendryx later joined LaBelle and Cindy Birdsong to form the Bluebelles, but when Birdsong left the Bluebelles to join Diana Ross and The Supremes, the trio of Dash, Hendryx and LaBelle became known as Labelle.
The group’s hit single “Lady Marmalade” hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975, Variety reported.
Hendryx shared her own touching tribute to Dash on Instagram, calling her “Nightbird.”
The Labelle trio broke up in 1977, launching Dash’s solo career that included the release of four albums with hit singles such as “Sinner Man” and “Low Down Dirty Rhythm.” Dash also worked closely with the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and sang background vocals for the rockers’ “Steel Wheels” album, USA Today reported.
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