Cleotha Staples, a founding member of The Staple Singers, passed away on February 21st after a decade long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. She was 78.
She was the eldest child of the group's patriarch Roebuck "Pa" Staples and sung tenor. Although the group had its origins in Chicago churches in the late 1940s, the height of their success came with Stax Records in the early to mid 1970s with songs like "Respect Yourself", "I'll Take You There" and, my personal favorite, "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)". Their final number one hit was the Curtis Mayfield penned "Let's Do It Again".
Before their fame, the Staples befriended Martin Luther King, Jr. and they would often sing at his rallies.
In 1999, the Staple Singers became the first gospel group inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. "Pa" Staples passed away in 2000. She is survived by her brother Pervis and younger sisters Yvonne and Mavis.