Sharon Jones, Soul and also Funk Singer with Dap-Kings, Dead in ~ 60

Grammy-nominated vocalist dies adhering to “heroic battle against pancreatic cancer”


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Sharon Jones, the fiery Grammy-nominated spirit singer of the Dap-Kings, passed away on Friday that pancreatic cancer at the period of 60.

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Sharon Jones, the fiery heart singer who spent years in obscurity before becoming a Grammy-nominated soul and funk vocalist v her longtime backing band the Dap-Kings, passed away on Friday of pancreatic cancer. She to be 60.

“We room deeply saddened to announce the Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” the singer’s rep wrote in a statement. “She was surrounded by she loved ones, consisting of the Dap-Kings.”

Doctors diagnosed Jones with stage two pancreatic cancer in 2013 and removed the singer’s gallbladder, the head of her pancreas and 18 inches of her small intestine. She went into remission nine months later, yet announced that the cancer had returned at the premiere of miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary detailing Jones’ life and also career. The cancer would certainly be elevated to stage four, with tumors spreading to her lungs, liver and lymph nodes.


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Jones taped six albums through the Dap-Kings, however it was her exhilarating live shows, which worked as equal parts Baptist church revival, Saturday night juke joint and also raucous las Vegas revue, the showcased the singer’s unequaled energy. In venues filled through people half her age, Jones was the many dynamic human in the room, bolting onstage and commanding the crowd choose her idol James Brown. It to be homage there is no mimicry; respecting the soul and also funk elders that identified the category while displaying seemingly boundless vitality. Jones’ power was the capacity to straddle the line in between thankful humility, born the end of late-in-life success, and boastful performer.


“I’m not trying come ride anybody’s coattails,” the singer said in 2008. “I’m simply doing my thing and people space coming to us.”

Sharon Lafaye Jones was born may 4th, 1956 in Augusta, GA. The youngest of 6 kids, she uncovered her love because that the stage as a child. Her mom moved the household from phibìc Augusta, SC to Brooklyn come escape her abusive husband, and also it to be there the Jones started singing in church v her sister Willa.

Jones started many funk teams in the 1970s, earning extra money through performing in wedding bands and also singing gospel music. But for decades, she had trouble break in to the industry.

“I wasn’t what they to be looking for,” she told Rolling rock earlier this year. “They just looked in ~ me and also they didn’t choose what castle saw: a short, black color woman.” As recorded in miss out on Sharon Jones!, a record producer said the singer in the 1990s that she was “too fat, also black, too short and also too old.” “I looked in ~ myself and also saw ugliness,” she said in the film.

She retreated from music because that a few years, acquisition various work that included armored car guard because that Wells Fargo and also two years as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison. The latter job was a harbinger of her onstage persona: Commanding, fierce and demanding respect.

In 1996, Gabriel Roth, present Dap-Kings bandleader and head that now-defunct funk label Desco Records, functioned with Jones’ then-fiancé and needed a back-up singer because that a couple of tracks. Jones would record plenty of songs together a back-up singer for the label and also release “Damn It’s Hot,” her first song as a frontwoman at the age of 40.

After the dissolution of Desco, Roth, together saxophonist Neal Sugarman, recruited Jones and also the Dap-Kings to record their 2002 debut album Dap Dippin’ v Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings on what would come to be Daptone Records. They recorded in a Williamsburg basement, selling copies out that Sugarman’s kitchen in Brooklyn. (Jones would assist Roth develop the label’s permanent studio-cum-headquarters in 2002, managing the electric wiring herself.)


Jones and also the Dap-Kings exit a series of increasingly popular, horn-anchored soul and funk albums, including 2005’s Naturally, 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights and also 2010’s ns Learned the tough Way. The group ongoing to record and tour constantly, watching your crowds thrive as Jones’ roaring voice, frenetic energy and gregarious personality gone beyond the early stage “female James Brown” comparisons.

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In 2012, the group started recording their 6th album, provide the world What lock Want, which would certainly earn Jones her very first Grammy nomination for ideal R&B Album. The following year, she entered a hospital in Augusta, Georgia with yellow eyes, serious itching and also rapid load loss. The cancer diagnosis was swift and also unimaginable. “I simply started crying,” Jones told Rolling Stone. “All kinds of thoughts went with my head since I figured that i was going to die.”

Jones ongoing to perform as soon as possible, making use of the phase as therapy. “When i walk out , every little thing pain is gone,” Jones said. “You forget around everything. Over there is no cancer. Over there is no sickness. You’re simply floating, spring in your faces and hearing lock scream. That’s all the is come me.”

With offer the human being What castle Want, Jones continued to prosper her fanbase while trying come earn greater acclaim in ~ the industry. “The just thing I want to attain was to ultimately get well-known by the music industry,” she called Rolling rock in 2014. “If you know the awards, answer me this question: perform you see an award for heart music? No …You don’t have enough soul artists, for this reason they placed pop music under R&B and funk. When human being ask what music ns sing, i say soul, R&B and also funk. And at the awards, we aren’t recognized. Why? because we’re an elevation label. We’ve to be going on here for 19 years and these world don’t also know.”

The group’s last album, the holiday compilationIt’s a Holiday spirit Party, was released in 2015. Speaking to Rolling stone earlier this year, Jones expressed interest in recording a gospel album v the Dap-Kings, repeating her mantra, “I have actually cancer; cancer don’t have actually me.”

Jones’ rep wrote in a statement that donations might be made to The Lustgarten Foundation, James Brown Family foundation and small Kids Rock.