Pervis Staples, co-founder of the Staple Singers, dies at the age of 85
Pervis Staples – co-founder of the legendary Staple Singers – has died, as reported by Rolling Stone. Staples’ death was confirmed to RS by Adam Ayers – a member of the Mavis Staples management team. Staples died on May 6th at his home in Dolton, Illinois. No cause of death was disclosed. He was 85 years old.
The Staples Singers were founded in 1948 by Roebuck “Pops” Staples. Pops was the father of Pervis (who sang tenor) and Pervis’ three sisters and bandmates: Mavis, Cleotha and Yvonne. The family band initially sang gospel music, but later switched to the pop-driven sounds of soul and R&B. Some of the most famous recordings of the Staple Singers were made in the 1970s; Hits like “Respect Yourself”, “When You’re Ready (Come On, Go With Me)”, “Let’s Do It Again” (produced by Curtis Mayfield) and more.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Mavis Staples said of her late brother: “Pervis was one of a kind – weird and downright flying. He would want to be remembered as an upright man, always ready to help and encourage others. He was one of the good guys and will live on as a true Chicago legend. “
She added that Pervis dated Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls and Jerry Butler when he was young. “Pervis and the boys stood under the lampposts in the summer and sang doo-wop songs,” she said. Pervis was also a friend of Bob Dylan (the Staple Singers recorded a duet from Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” in 1965).
In 1999 the Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 Grammy Awards.
Pops Staples died in 2000, followed by Cleotha in 2013. In 2018, Yvonne Staples died after battling colon cancer.