Though Sharon Jones didn’t begin singing professionally until the final decades of her life– she spent twenty years working as a corrections officer out of Rikers Island prison– she burst on to the scene with her band the Dap-Kings with 2002’s Dap-Dippin’ With… on a newly formed Daptone Records, and immediately her warm presence, electric dance moves and powerhouse voice lit up the stage and recording studio.
Her battle with what we would be diagnosed as pancreatic cancer, which she never shied away from speaking about publically, began in 2013, delaying the release of Give the People What They Want. That record went on t0 be released and nominated for a Grammy in 2014, and Jones went back to work, continung to tour with the Dap-Kings and releasing a Christmas album, It’s a Holiday Soul Party. She fought hard, but lost her battle on Friday, November 18th.
In 2010, Jones participated in Elmore’s Influences feature, opposite Mavis Staples, which we titled “Voices From Heaven.” When asked, “Who would you like in your rock ‘n’ roll heaven band?” She replied… “…Jimi Hendrix. James Brown, I would just have loved to have been able to do something with him. Sammy’s [Davis Jr.] had his own different style, I would have loved to have met and do some little classical stuff; me and Sammy could have hung out together. Some of the old blues singers and guitar players, even Elvis, I mean Elvis alone. Can you imagine me meeting up with Elvis and doing something? As far as musicians, you know Rick James, he was a talent, he was just getting himself back together and Boom! And Prince…”
Here’s hoping she got her wish, and the best concert of all time is going on right now, with Jones dancing across the stage and belting her heart out.
To hear more from Jones, read the rest of of that Influences HERE.
If you want to show your support and thanks, her family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the following organizations: