Sarah Dash, who sang on ‘Lady Marmalade’ with Labelle, dies at 76

LOS ANGELES – Sarah Dash, the legendary R&B singer who gained prominence as part of the group Labelle in the 1970s, has died.

She was 76.

Labelle’s publicist confirmed Dash’s death to Variety.

Image: Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle on Cher's solo music and variety show on Feb. 16, 1975.
Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle on Cher’s solo music and variety show on Feb. 16, 1975.CBS / via Getty Images

Trenton, New Jersey, 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 away… Our motto, ‘Trenton Makes, the World Takes’ was alive and well with Sarah. What Sarah made was beautiful music refined by a lifetime of experience and numerous contributions to the arts and the community. What the world takes is a timeless inspiration of a woman who touched the highest peaks of stardom and never forgot where she came from.”

Beyond Labelle, Dash lent her smooth vocals to the recordings and live shows of some of the biggest artists in music, 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, seeing success with songs like 1978’s “Sinner Man” and 1983’s “Low Down Dirty Rhythm.”

Born in Trenton, Dash got her start singing gospel music as the daughter of a pastor. After moving to Philadelphia in the ’60s, Dash met Patti LaBelle, Cindy Birdsong and Nona Hendryx, and the quartet soon formed the Bluebelles, which would later become Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In 1967, Birdsong departed the group to join the Supremes and the trio changed their name to Labelle. After signing to Warner Bros. Records, Labelle released its 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-’70s: “Nightbirds,” “Phoenix” and “Chameleon.” “Lady Marmalade,” a single from “Nightbirds,” proved to be the group’s most successful song, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and earning international acclaim.

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