The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B singing group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha, Pervis Yvonne, and Mavis.
At the height of their career, they were the most frequently invited guests on to Variety television in the 1970’s. The only other variety Gospel act that was as well known and accepted in the 70’s on variety televison shows was Mahalia Jackson.
The family began appearing in Chicago-area churches in 1948, and signed their first professional contract in 1952. During their early career they recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with various labels: United Records, Vee-Jay Records their “Uncloudy Day” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” were best sellers, Checker Records, Riverside Records, and then Epic Records in 1965. While the family surname is “Staples”, the group used the singular form for its name, resulting in the group’s name being “The Staple Singers”. The song “Respect Yourself” was used by Spike Lee in the soundtrack to his movie “Crooklyn” made in 1994.The Staple Singers found a new audience in 1994 when they teamed with Marty Stuart to perform “The Weight” When their label Stax filed for bankruptcy Curtis Mayfield signed the Staples to his Curtom label.
If you would like to view more Gospel Flashbacks Read: Gospel Flashback:The Blind Boys of Alabama
In 1999, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pops Staples died of complications from a concussion suffered in December 2000. In 2005, the group was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Mavis Staples has continued to carry on the family tradition and continues to add her vocal talents to both the projects of other artists and her own solo ventures.
They are best known for their 1970s crossover hits “I’ll Take You There”, “Respect Yourself”, and “Let’s Do It Again”.