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The Staple Singers


1915

Roebuck “Pops” Staples is born in Winona, Mississippi.

1931

Pops Staples joins the Golden Trumpets, a gospel quartet.

1948

The Staple Singers—a quartet comprising patriarch Pops and children Cleotha, Pervis and Mavis Staples—begin performing at churches in the Chicago area, where they’ve been living since 1936.

1953

For their first recording, the Staples cut a 78 rpm single ("These They Are” b/w “Faith and Grace") and pressed it up on their own Royal label.

1954

The Staple Singers cut a gospel number called “Sit Down Servant” (a.k.a. “Won’t You Sit Down") for the Chicago-based United Label.

1957

“Uncloudy Day” becomes a gospel hit on the Vee-Jay label.

1958

Yvonne Staples joins the group as brother Pervis’s replacement during his two-year hitch in the U.S. Army.

1962

The Staples sign to the Riverside label, where they record four albums in a gospel-folk direction. With the inclusion of “Blown’ in the Wind” on their 1963 album ‘This Land’, they become the first African-American group to record a Bob Dylan song.

1965

As the civil-rights and antiwar movements gather momentum, the Staple Singers release, ‘Amen!’, the first of six message-oriented albums for Epic Records (a Columbia subsidiary).

1967

The Staple Singers hit #95 in the US with “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)”.

1967

The Staple Singers’ cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” reaches #66 on Billboard’s pop singles chart.

1968

The Staple Singers move to the Memphis-based Stax Records, where they will remain for through 1974. Injecting soul and R&B into their “message music,” the Staples enjoy their greatest period of commercial success at Stax.

1971

The Staple Singers hit #27 with “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na- Boom Boom)”.

1971

“Respect Yourself” reaches #2 on the R&B charts and #12 pop.

1972

“I’ll Take You There” tops both the pop and R&B charts, remaining ensconced at #1 on the latter for four weeks.

1973

“If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” tops the R&B chart for three weeks and reaches #9 on the pop chart.

1975

The Staple Singers hit #1 for the second time with “Let’s Do It Again,” released on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label.

1976

The Band performs their farewell concert at San Francisco’s Winterland. The show is filmed by Martin Scorcese and later released as ‘The Last Waltz’. During the show, Pops and Mavis Staples join in on “The Weight.”

1984

The Staple Singers’ version of the Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” reaches #22 on the R&B chart (#109 pop).

1992

BeBe & CeCe Winans hit #90 with “Ill Take You There” featuring Mavis Staples.

1993

Mavis Staples releases ‘The Voice’, the second of two solo albums for Prince’s Paisley Park label. A tour de force of soulful funk, it was judged one of the ten best albums of the year by ‘People’ magazine.

1995

Pops Staples receives a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for ‘Father Father’, released the previous year.

1999

The Staple Singers are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the fourteenth annual induction dinner.

2000

Roebuck “Pops” Staples dies in his sleep.

2011

Mavis Staples wins her first-ever Grammy award for her solo album You Are Not Alone.

2011

Cleotha Staples dies after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for nearly a decade.

The Staple Singers