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Sharon Jones (1956 - 2016)

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Sharon Jones (1956 - 2016)

Sharon Jones, the soul and funk singer who fronted Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, died Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to multiple news sources. She was 60.

“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,” said the message on her website. Jones died at a Cooperstown, New York, hospital after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jones found success with her backing band, The Dap-Kings, at the age of 40. Her powerful voice and high-energy shows harked back to an earlier era of soul and funk singers. However, her music was more than pastiche; it was heartfelt and passionate, and it connected with fans eagerly looking for an authentic voice that could express struggle and celebration.

Jones released her first of six albums with The Dap-Kings, “Dip Dappin’ With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings,” in 2002. Her 2014 album, “Give the People What They Want,” was nominated for a Grammy for the best R&B album.

Her live shows were known for their high energy and were described as “equal parts Baptist church revival, Saturday night juke joint and raucous 1970s Las Vegas revue,” by Rolling Stone magazine.

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In 2013, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her struggle with the disease and treatment was captured in the 2015 documentary “Miss Sharon Jones!” After remission, she returned to live performances in 2015. However, while at the Toronto International Film Festival that year, she announced that her cancer had returned and that she would undergo chemotherapy. Despite these setbacks, she released the single “I’m Still Here” and toured in the summer of 2016 while still receiving treatment.

That indefatigable spirit was shaped by a lifetime of struggle. Born May 4, 1956, in Augusta, Georgia, Jones was the youngest of six children. Her family moved to New York, and she was raised in Brooklyn where she began to show an interest in music, imitating James Brown and singing in church choirs.

Her passion for funk and soul music didn’t fit with current trends in popular music, and she was unable to get her music career off the ground. She worked as a corrections officer at Riker’s Island and as a bank security guard while still singing weddings and backup for other musicians.

During a recording session in 1996, she caught the attention of producers Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman, who helped form The Dap-Kings band and Daptone record label, giving a vehicle for their new-found star. Her talent and hard work did the rest.

“My deepest condolences 2 the family of (Sharon Jones). She was the real deal in this industry,” Chaka Khan mourned. ”2016 you’ve been awful.”

Niles Rogers tweeted, #RIPSharonJones - You are incredible and mighty. Condolences to your family."

Roseanne Barr paid tribute, "Hail Hail, a genius has vacated this realm, RIP @sharonjones my favorite singer."

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