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Mon, 12.28.1914

‘Pops’ Staples, Singer, and Composer born

"Pops" Staples

On this date, "Pops" Staples, a Black gospel and blues singer, was born in 1914.

Roebuck "Pops” Staples was born in Winona, MS, and was introduced to music by singing in the church.  At the age of 15, Staples began experimenting with the Blues.  Robert Johnson, Bukka White, and "Big Bill" Broonzy were among those who influenced his singing and guitar style.

In 1935, Staples moved to Chicago with his wife Oceola and two children, Pervis and Cleotha. There, the family grew with the addition of Yvonne and Mavis.

Staples began teaching his children music when they were quite young in the hope of forming a group. In the early 1950s, Pervis, Cleotha, and Mavis joined him in performances at local churches. Although The Staple Singers first recorded in 1953, they did not gain recognition until moving to Chicago's Black-owned Vee-Jay Records.   In 1955, which released five gospel albums by the group over the next five years. They achieved their greatest popularity with a series of more elaborately produced recordings for Stax.

These featured horn sections and synthesizers, embodied by the hits "Respect Yourself" (1971), "I'll Take You There" (1972), and "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" (1973), as well as by the 1975 album for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label, "Let's Do It Again," the group's all-time best-seller. After many great gospel and soul recordings for VeeJay, Riverside, Epic, and Stax from the early 1950s on as the father and leader of the Staple Singers, Pops Staples went out on his own. "Father Father" (1994) was a high point in his solo career.

Also joining Staples on the album were several well-known guests, Ry Cooder, daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleotha. In 1995, Staples received a Grammy Award in the Contemporary Blues category; he also appeared in three films: “Wag the Dog,” “Three Stories,” and a video called “Pops Staples Live in Concert.”  In 1999, he was awarded the Mississippi Arts and Letters Special Award for his contribution to music.

Roebuck "Pops" Staples died on December 20, 2000.

To Become a Musician or Singer



ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980
ISBN 0-8351-1283-1

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