Soul Revival Star Sharon Jones Dies

Dap-Kings singer became star in middle age
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2016 5:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Sharon Jones, the powerhouse singer who shepherded a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age, has died. She was 60. A rep says Jones died Friday at a Cooperstown, NY hospital after battling pancreatic cancer, the AP reports. Loved ones and members of her retro-soul band, the Dap-Kings, were among those surrounding her. Jones was born in Georgia and grew up in Brooklyn. For years, she regularly sang gospel at her church and sang back-up for session bands. To make ends meet, she worked as a corrections officer at the Rikers Island jail complex and was a bank security guard. But in one recording session, she caught the attention of Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman.

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The two producers, blown away by Jones' fiery voice, made her the lead singer of their newly formed Dap-Kings and launched the Daptone Records label around her unlikely star power. They released their debut album in 2002, when Jones was 46. Their sixth album, Give the People What They Want, earned Jones her first Grammy nomination for best R&B album. Even after the cancer she had battled for years returned in late 2015, she mounted another comeback with the defiant single "I'm Still Here" and hit the road again with her band while undergoing chemotherapy. "You got to be brave," she said in July. "I want to use the time that I have. I don't want to spend it all laid up, wishing I had done that gig." (Read more Sharon Jones stories.)

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