Sarah Dash, Labelle co-founder and ‘Lady Marmalade’ singer, dead at 76


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Patti Labelle and Nona Hendrix complete musical trio Labelle

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Sarah Dash, co-founder of the all-female group Labelle – best known for the raucous 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade” – has died at the age of 76.

Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendrix completed the trio. He announced Dash’s death on social media on Monday. No cause of death was given.


Hendrix wrote, “We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brings us together.”

“Sarah Dash was an exceptionally talented, beautiful and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others as far as I can tell,” the label wrote. “Rest in power my dear sister.”

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Dash originally debuted in The Ordettes group, before morphing into The Bluebells and then Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells. In the early 1970s, they shortened it to Labelle, changing their outfit and turning to funk, with all three members singing the lead and background.

He created gospel-soul covers of rock songs, and his original tunes include “Can I Speak to You Before You Go to Hollywood?” The ballad was included. “Morning Much Better” and “Touch Me All Over.”

But the group’s most famous tune was “Lady Marmalade,” a song about New Orleans sex workers from their 1974 album “Nightbirds.”

“Lady Marmalade” reached number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles (now Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs). It was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003 and appears in both Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 hyperactive film “Moulin Rouge” and the Broadway musical inspired by the film.

Labelle disbanded in 1976. Dash, a New Jersey native, continued to perform as a solo singer, releasing several albums over the years. She wrote music with Keith Richards and toured with the Rolling Stones.

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