Sarah Dash, most well known as a singer and founding member of R&B girl group Labelle, has passed away. She was 76 years old.
At the time of writing, no cause of death has been revealed, though Soul Tracks reports that “it was unexpected”. Dash’s final performance took place on Saturday (September 18) when she joined her former group’s lead vocalist Patti Labelle at the latter’s concert in New Jersey.
Posting a clip of the performance on Instagram, Patti Labelle wrote that Dash “was an awesomely talented, beautiful, and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can say.
“I could always count on her to have my back! That’s who Sarah was… a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one. She was a true giver… always serving, always sharing her talent and her time.
“I am heart broken, as I know all of her loved ones and fans are. But, I know that Sarah’s spirit and all that she has given to the world live on! And I pray that her precious memory brings us peace and comfort. Rest in power my dear sister. I love you always.”
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Dash linked up with Patti Labelle and Nona Hondryx for the first time in 1961 as part of The Ordettes, along with Sundray Tucker. Soon after, Tucker was replaced by Cindy Birdsong and the group had changed their name to Patti Labelle and The Bluebells.
In the late 60s, Birdsong left the band to join The Supremes, and the trio once again rebranded themselves to simply Labelle, in what is their most recognisable lineup. Together, the trio released eight albums together, most recently 2008’s ‘Back To Now’. They enjoyed particular success with the release of their seminal 1974 single, ‘Lady Marmalade’.
As a solo artist, Dash released four studio albums between 1978 and 1988, as well as a session and touring musician for The Rolling Stones, as well as on Keith Richards’ solo endeavours. In 2016, Dash was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by The National R&B Music Society.
View tributes to Dash from Nile Rodgers, Gloria Gaynor and more below.
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) September 20, 2021
I’m saddened to hear of the passing of my peer and fellow New Jerseyan, @SarahDash. We have lost yet another great talent. My heartfelt condolences to her family, friends & fans. 🙏🏾🎶🕊 pic.twitter.com/gLshtZrxQV
— Gloria Gaynor (@gloriagaynor) September 20, 2021
Danggit! We lost another, Ms. Sarah Dash (8-18, 1945 – 9 20, 2021) was an American singer & actress. She 1st appeared as a member of Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles, later in Labelle, worked as a singer, musician & sideman for The Rolling Stones, and Keith Richards. R.I.P WE LOVE! pic.twitter.com/YgJ9JYYCY6
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) September 21, 2021
— Stephanie Mills (@PrettyMill1) September 21, 2021