Sharon Jones, Late-Blooming Soul Star, Dead at 60

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Sharon Jones (Photo from her website)

Sharon Jones (Photo from her website)

(Update Dec. 7): Memorial services were announced today for Jones in Brooklyn, NY on Dec. 14 and Augusta, GA on Dec. 17. (See the image below with the details.)

Our original story upon her death…

Sharon Jones, a dynamic soul and funk singer in the mold of the ’60s and ’70s greats, who made her first recordings in her 40s, died today (Nov. 18) at age 60. Jones’ location at the time of her death was not revealed.

A spokesperson for the singer issued this statement: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings,” referring to Jones’ longtime band.

Born in North Augusta, South Carolina, on May 4, 1956, Jones grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She began her singing career in the 1970s, doing session work, while employed as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison. She recorded her first session as a leader in 1996, recording singles for the Desco label, whose co-owner Gabriel Roth, along with saxophonist Neal Sugarman, then formed Daptone Records in 2001.

Jones and the Dap-Kings released their debut album for the label, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, in 2002 and the band remained with the label for the duration of their career. In all, Jones and the Dap-Kings released more than a dozen singles and seven albums for Daptone. Their 2014 album Give the People What They Want was nominated for Best R&B Album” at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.

Related: 10 cool rock-soul songs

In June 2013, Jones announced that she had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer, later changed to Stage II pancreatic cancer. She underwent liver surgery and chemotherapy, allowing her battle—and the eventual return to performing—to be filmed for a documentary, Miss Sharon Jones!, directed by Barbara Kopple, which debuted at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. During that screening, Jones revealed that her cancer had returned. (The film is currently available on demand on some cable TV systems.)

Watch Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings performing in Paris in 2011 when a fan named Prince walked onstage to help out

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Best Classic Bands Staff

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