I was so sad to hear that Cleotha Staples, the eldest sibling of the renowned gospel group, The Staple Singers had passed at the age of 78 after battling Alzheimer’s disease. I first met The Staple Singers in 1974 when, as a young publicist, I had the honor to work with them. A well respected musical act, who had signed with Stax Records in 1968, they already had their first cross over hit in 1971 with “Respect Yourself.” The single went to #12 on the pop chart and peaked at #2 on the R&B chart. It had been followed in 1972 by their huge #1 hit “I’ll Take You There,” topping both pop and R&B charts. In 1973 “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” became another big hit, reaching #9 pop and #1 on the R&B chart. The group was founded by their father Roebuck “Pops” Staples who taught his children gospel songs, accompanying them on his guitar. I will remember Cleotha as a nice, quiet and almost timid lady who had a great passion for Gospel. I have fond memories of her. She will be missed.
Cleotha Staples was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with her family in 1999. They received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
By Michele Elyzabeth