Sarah Dash of Labelle Dead at 76

L-R: Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of Labelle in 2008
Photo Credit
Brad Barket/Getty Images

Sarah Dash, one-third of the powerful '70s soul/R&B trio Labelle, died Monday (Sept. 20). She was 76 years old.

"Sarah 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," bandmate Patti LaBelle posted on Twitter. (Dash made a surprise appearance at a New Jersey concert of LaBelle's on Saturday, Sept. 18.)

"Words are inadequate so I will use few," bandmate Nona Hendryx wrote in tribute on Instagram. "We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brought us together, You, Me and then You, Me, Cindy and Pat; Bluebelles."


A post shared by Nona Hendryx (@nonahendryx)

Born in Trenton, NJ in 1945, Dash met Patricia Holte, Hendryx and Cindy Birdsong as a teenager in Philadelphia. As The Blue Belles, they scored a Top 20 hit in 1962 with "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman"; almost immediately thereafter, Holt changed her name to Patti LaBelle and would be the group's de facto frontwoman. After Birdsong left in 1967 to join The Supremes, the group continued as a trio, changing their name to Labelle in 1970.

READ MORE: LABELLE: Classic Soul 1974 Interview

After supporting the likes of The Who and Laura Nyro, Labelle eventually debuted bold new looks (including spacesuits and feathers) in the mid-'70s, and recorded the album Nightbirds with producer Allen Toussaint in 1974. A potent mix of R&B, funk and dance music, the album's lead single "Lady Marmalade" - a catchy song about sex workers in New Orleans - became a No. 1 hit in 1975 (and again in 2001, when covered by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya and P!nk for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack).

Labelle broke up in 1976; Dash's solo highlights included the 1978 Top 10 disco single "Sinner Man" and a musical partnership with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, whom she befriended when The Blue Belles opened for the British rockers in the '60s. Dash sang on several of Richards' solo albums and tours as well as The Rolling Stones' comeback album Steel Wheels in 1989.

Dash spent the remainder of her career doing charity work in her native Trenton and New York City, returning to her original musical love of gospel and triumphantly reuniting with Labelle for the Top 10 R&B album Back to Now in 2008.

Artist Name

Read More

Keith Bernstein/Redferns
2021 Introduction: A semi-finalist for induction into The SoulMusic Hall Of Fame in the category ‘R&B Pioneer,’ Lenny Williams came to the attention of record buyers and audiences as the ‘voice’ behind hits by Tower Of Power such as “So Very Hard To Go” and “What Is Hip?” His solo career took a few years to jumpstart and by 1977, Lenny was riding a hit wave with “Choosing You” as he explained to David Nathan…
article column overlay
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
We mark the August 16, 2018 passing of Aretha Franklin, the undisputed ‘Queen Of Soul’ with this seldom-seen interview that occurred spontaneously and unexpectedly one summer evening in 1977 when Aretha called from Encino, California to share with David Nathan in New York about her then-new album “Sweet Passion” and more,…
article column overlay
Ross Marino/Getty Images
The singer made chart history on June 27, 1987.
article column overlay

Facebook Comments