Sharon Jones dies at 60; Singer gives in to pancreatic cancer

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Sharon Jones 2014 Pop Conference
Photo courtesy: Joe Mabel / wikimedia

Sharon Jones, soul singer with the ‘Dap-Kings’, dies at 60.

Sharon Jones, the artist who made soul revivals despite not finding stardom until middle age, died Friday of cancer. The soul singer was 60.

Jones’ representative, Judy Silverman, said the singer died on Friday at a Cooperstown, New York, hospital. The singer died after battling pancreatic cancer. Loved ones and members of her retro-soul band, the Dap-Kings, were among those surrounding her.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” the singer’s rep wrote in a statement on Rolling Stones. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”

Sharon Lafaye Jones was born on May 4, 1956, in Augusta, Georgia. Early before her career, Sharon Jones was a regular gospel singer in a church. The singer  often entered talent shows backed by local funk bands in the early 1970s. Jones sang and shouted the kind of gospel-charged soul and funk she had grown up on. Her voice had bite, bluesiness, rhythmic savvy and a lifetime of conviction.

Like many other striving artists who work hard to get their way into the music industry, Sharon Jones had some fair share of rejections. The singer tried decades earlier to get a start in the music business, but was told by record labels that the singer didn’t have the looks to be a performer. In one of her documentary titled, “Miss Sharon Jones, she recalled being called “too short, too fat, too black and too old.”

 Gabriel Roth, founder of the Brooklyn-based Daptone Records and the Dap-Kings’ bassist and main songwriter discovered Sharon Jones’ talent in 1996. Jones was later introduced to the Dap-Kings where she became an unstoppable frontwoman. The talented singer sang about love troubles, hard times and a woman’s strength.  At a 2011 concert in Paris, Prince showed up to play some guitar.

In 2013, as she prepared to release the album “Give the People What They Want,” she was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Jones and the Dap-Kings performed on a float in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Dayparade anyway. The album was postponed for a year while the singer underwent surgery and chemotherapy

Sharon Jones with her passion in music continued to perform even during her battle with cancer. In 2014, after chemotherapy sent her cancer into remission, Jones returned to performing with a show of undiminished energy as long as she could.

Sharon a Jones  first returned to perform in 2014. She was bald due to several chemotherapies. The singer’s “Give The People What They Want” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.

Jones and the Dap were fully back at work in 2015. They released a Christmas album, “It’s a Holiday Soul Party.” They toured with Hall & Oates and on their own. Jones and the band made new single that’s heard in “Miss Sharon Jones!” called “I’m Still Here,” a musical autobiography . The lyrics goes “I didn’t know if I would live to see another day…But I’m still here.”

Photo courtesy: Joe Mabel / Wikimedia

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