Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
2016 has continued ravaging the music world as it was announced this afternoon that soul singer Sharon Jones has lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. She died at the age of 60.
We are deeply saddened to announce Sharon Jones passed away today. More details at https://t.co/MAag8tYrE3
— Sharon Jones (@sharonjones) November 19, 2016
Her publicist released the following statement:
We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:
– The Lustgarten Foundation
– James Brown Family Foundation
– Little Kids Rock
Jones was initially diagnosed with bile duct cancer in 2013. She underwent surgery which resulted in the cancellation of her tour with the Dap-Kings and the postponement of their album Give the People What They Want.
The diagnosis was then changed to stage II pancreatic cancer and Jones underwent additional surgeries as well as chemotherapy.
Born in South Carolina but raised in New York City, she was involved in the music industry from a young age but was unable to break through and make music her full-time job. She worked as a correctional officer and security guard before she caught a break in 1996 as a session vocalist for legendary R&B singer Lee Fields. The session was co-helmed by future Daptones Records founder Gabriel Roth, and led to the formation of the Soul Providers, who eventually morphed into the Dap-Kings.
With a sound that is pure vintage soul, her first singles caught the attention of classic R&B vinyl collectors who initially thought the undated 45s were in fact from the 70s. The records were on Desco Records (which was founded by Roth and Philip Lehman), which was an early springboard for the success of Daptone.
It was a Sharon Jones album that marked the first release for Daptone Records, which is now considered a soul music institution. All told, Sharon Jones released seven LPs under the moniker Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. The band most recently released It’s A Holiday Soul Party this year.
UPDATE (11/22): According to a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings disclosed that Sharon Jones had a stroke on election night (11/8) as she watched the returns roll in. She was hospitalized in Cooperstown, NYC.
“She told the people that were there that Trump gave her the stroke,” said Roth, laughing. “She was blaming Trump for the whole thing.”
He added that a second stroke left her unable to speak, but was able to recognize her band mates and only wanted to sing with them. “…Every time there was a lull in the room she would start moaning some kind of gospel song or something and we’d very quietly come in behind her and play guitar…It was really remarkable, and it was beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.”