Chicago (AP)-In a family of vocalists, it was Cleotha Staples’ smooth and velvety
voice that helped set apart the sound of the influential and best-selling gospel
group The Staple Singers.
Staples, the eldest sister and member of the group her father Roebuck "Pops"
Staples started in the 1940s, died Thursday at age 78. She was at her Chicago
home and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the past decade, said
family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter.
The group included sisters Pervis, Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia, but Cleotha was
the backbone, defining herself by being the "strong, silent type," said Carpenter,
author of "Uncloudy Day: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia."