December 28: The late great Pops Staples was born in 1914

pops staples

The late great Pops Staples was born in 1914

Roebuck “Pops” Staples (December 28, 1914 – December 19, 2000) was an American gospel and R&B musician.

A pivotal figure in gospel in the 1960s and 70s, he was a tremendous songwriter, guitarist and singer. He was the patriarch and member of singing group The Staple Singers, which included his son Pervis and daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleotha, later just Pops and his daughters.

Pops Staples – Gotta serve somebody (Jools Holland, 1994(?)):

Pops Staples
Birth name Roebuck Staples
Also known as “Pops”
Born December 28, 1914 Winona, Mississippi, United States
Died December 19, 2000 (aged 85)
Genres Christian, gospel, R&B, blues
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1948 – 1994
Labels United, Vee-Jay, Curtom,Stax, Riverside
Associated acts The Staples Singers, Mavis Staples

The Staple Singers – Slippery People (Talking Heads cover):

Pops is great here here – his vocals leading the call and response – but Mavis’s scat at about 2:46 is also a must hear.

In 1948 Roebuck and his wife Oceola Staples formed The Staple Singers to sing as a gospel group in local churches, with their children. The Staple Singers first recorded in the early 1950s for United and then the larger Vee-Jay Records, with songs including 1955’s “This May Be the Last Time” (later covered byThe Rolling Stones as “The Last Time”) and “Uncloudy Day”.

The Staple Singers – Why am I treated so bad at Montreux Jazz Festival 1981 with Roebuck “Pops” Staples on solo and Michael Logan on keyboards:

In the 1960s the Staple Singers moved to Riverside Records and later Stax Records, and began recording protest, inspirational and contemporary music, reflecting the civil rights and anti-war movements of the time. They gained a large new audience with “Respect Yourself” (which featured Pops, nearly 57 at the time, on lead on the long version for more than two minutes), the 1972 US # 1 hit “I’ll Take You There”, “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)”, and other hits. “Let’s Do It Again” topped the Hot 100 on 27 December 1975, the day before his 61st birthday. Pops Staples also recorded a blues album, Jammed Together, with fellow guitarists Albert King and Steve Cropper.

In 1976, Staples also appeared in the movie documenting The Band’s final concert, The Last Waltz (released in 1978). Pops Staples shared vocals with his daughters and with Levon Helm and Rick Danko on “The Weight.” The group appeared in the concert on stage, but their later performance shot on a soundstage was used in the final film. It is considered by some fans as the definitive version of the song.

The Band with The Staple Singers – The Weight:

Pops Staples died after suffering a concussion in a fall at his home, just nine days short of his 86th birthday.

– Hallgeir