LOS ANGELES – Sarah Dash, the legendary R&B singer who rose to prominence with the band Labelle in the 1970s, has passed away. She was 76 years old.
Labelle’s publicist confirmed Dash’s death to Variety.
Trenton, NJ, Mayor Reed Gusciora also shared the news on his Facebook page, writing: “Our resident legend and Trenton’s very first music ambassador, Sarah Dash, has passed … Our motto, ‘Trenton Makes, the World Takes’ was alive and well with Sarah. What Sarah did was beautiful music refined by a life of experience and many contributions to the arts and to the community. What the world takes is timeless inspiration from ‘a woman who has reached the highest heights of stardom and has never forgotten where she came from. “
Beyond Labelle, Dash has lent his gentle voice to recordings and concerts by some of music’s greatest artists, including the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, Stevie Wonder, Laura Nyro, Alice Cooper, the O’Jays, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley and more. She also had a lucrative solo career, finding success with songs like “Sinner Man” from 1978 and “Low Down Dirty Rhythm” from 1983.
Born in Trenton, Dash began singing gospel music as a pastor’s daughter. After moving to Philadelphia in the 1960s, Dash met Patti LaBelle, Cindy Birdsong, and Nona Hendryx, and the quartet quickly formed the Bluebelles, who would later become Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In 1967, Birdsong left the group to join the Supremes and the trio changed its name to Labelle. After signing to Warner Bros. Records, Labelle released his self-titled debut album in 1971, followed by “Moon Shadow” in 1972. Labelle’s mainstream success came with a trio of albums released in the mid-1970s: “Nightbirds”, “Phoenix” and “Chameleon”. “Lady Marmalade”, a single from “Nightbirds”, proved to be the band’s most successful song, surpassing the Billboard Hot 100 and gaining international acclaim.
After Labelle disbanded in 1977, Dash embarked on a solo career. His eponymous debut album released in 1978, directed by the disco hit “Sinner Man”. Dash then released three more solo albums: “Ooh La La, Sarah Dash” in 1980, “Close Enough” in 1983 and “You’re All I Need” in 1988. In the late 80s, Dash toured with Keith Richards and sang on the Rolling Stones’ album “Steel Wheels” in 1989.
Dash then began producing one-woman shows like “Dash of Diva” and “Sarah: One Woman” in the 90s, and eventually reunited with Labelle in 1995 for the dance hit “Turn It Out”. In 2008, Labelle reunited again to release another album, “Back to Now”, which was produced by Lenny Kravitz and Wyclef Jean, among others. Dash was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003 and served as Music Ambassador in Trenton, where she advocated for the expansion of the performing arts in the city.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, LaBelle paid tribute to Dash: “We were just on stage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment! #SarahDash was an incredibly talented, beautiful and loving soul who blessed my life and her. life of so many others in more ways than I can tell. And I could always count on her to support me! That was who Sarah was … a faithful friend and a voice for those who had none. not. She was a true donor … always at the service, always sharing her talent and her time. “