NEW YORK – Singer Sarah Dash, who co-founded the all-female group Labelle – best known for the raucous 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade” – has passed away. She was 76 years old.
Patti Labelle and Nona Hendryx completed the trio. They announced Dash’s death on social media on Monday. No cause of death has been disclosed.
“We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brought us together, ”Hendryx wrote.
“Sarah Dash was an incredibly talented, beautiful and loving soul who has blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can tell,” wrote Labelle. “Rest in power my dear sister.”
Dash originally started in The Ordettes, before evolving into The Bluebells, then Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In the early 1970s, they shortened it to Labelle, changed outfits, and turned to funk, with all three members singing the lead role and the background.
They did gospel-soul covers of rock songs, and their original tunes included the ballad “Can I talk to you before I go to Hollywood?” “Morning Much Better” and “Touch Me All Over”.
But the band’s best-known song was “Lady Marmalade”, a song about New Orleans sex workers from their 1974 album “Nightbirds”.
“Lady Marmalade” reached number one on the Billboard singles Hot 100 and Hot Soul (now Hot R & B / Hip-Hop Songs). He was elected to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003 and appeared in both Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive film “Moulin Rouge” in 2001 and the Broadway musical based on the film.
Labelle disbanded in 1976. Dash, originally from New Jersey, continued to perform as a solo singer, releasing several albums over the years. She wrote music with Keith Richards and toured with the Rolling Stones.
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