LADY Marmalade singer Sarah Dash is dead at 76.
The group’s co-founder Patti LaBelle paid tribute to her friend’s “talented soul.”
“We were just onstage together on Saturday [Sept. 18] and it was such a powerful and special moment,” group leader Patti said in a statement sent to Billboard on Monday.
“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 could always count on her to have my back.
“That’s who Sarah was … a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one.
“She was a true giver, always serving and sharing her talent and time.”
Patti continued: “I am heartbroken, as I know all of her loved ones and fans are.
“But I know that Sarah’s spirit and all that she has given to the world live on.
“And I pray that her precious memory brings us peace and comfort. Rest in power my dear sister. I love you always!”
Sarah was born on August 18, 1945 in Trenton, N.J.
She created a musical duo called the Capris before moving to Philadelphia in the mid-‘60s, where she eventually teamed up with Nona Hendryx, Patti and Sundray Tucker to perform as the quartet The Ordettes.
Cindy Birdsong- who would go on to be part of the Supremes- replaced Sundray in 1962 and the group changed its name to The Bluebelles.
HITTING THEIR STRIDE
Once the group was rebranded, they began getting attention with their R&B ballads.
One of their memorable numbers included a reinterpretation of Over the Rainbow, while they also opened for the Rolling Stones in the ‘60s.
Sarah’s career hit its stride when she worked alongside Patti and Nona in the trio LaBelle.
Known for their impressive vocals and funky wardrobes, the group opened for bands such as The Who and released popular songs including Can I Speak to You Before You Go to Hollywood?
The group experienced their biggest commercial success in 1974 with the hit Lady Marmalade, which was featured on LaBelle’s album Nightbirds.
Labelle went on to release the albums Phoenix in 1975 and and Chameleon in 1976 before the group split and Sarah pursued a solo career.
The singer released her self-titled debut album in 1978, which featured the hit song Sinner Man.
The song was Sarah’s only Billboard Hot 100 hit and it reached No. 71 the year after its release.
Sarah later released three other solo albums: Ooh La La, Sarah Dash in 1980, Close Enough in 1983 and You’re All I Need in 1988.
She spent much of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s doing session work, writing songs and touring with Keith Richards.
Additionally, the impressive vocalist went on tour with the Rolling Stones.
Despite breaking up to focus on her solo career, Sarah reunited with Nona and Patti to sing the dance hit Turn It Out.
The song was featured on the 1995 soundtrack for To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
The trio once again worked together in 2008 for the critically acclaimed reunion album Back to Now, which featured the Sarah-led political song System.
Sarah clearly made a mark in the music industry and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by The National R&B Music Society back in 2016.