Sarah Dash, the singer and co-founder of the all-woman group Labelle best known for the 1974 “Lady Marmalade,” passed away on Monday (September 20). She was 76.
Patti LaBelle confirmed Dash’s passing on social media.
“We were just onstage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment!” LaBelle wrote. “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. And I could always count on her to have my back! That’s who Sarah was … a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one.”
She added, “She was a true giver, always serving and sharing her talent and time. I am heartbroken, as I know all of her loved ones and fans are. But I know that Sarah’s spirit and all that she has given to the world live on. And I pray that her precious memory brings us peace and comfort. Rest in power my dear sister. I love you always!”
Nona Hendryx, the third member of Labelle, shared her condolences on Instagram, writing, “Words are inadequate so I will use few. We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brought us together…”
The two had spoken on Saturday, the same day as Dash’s performance with LaBelle. “Now you’re gone, I can’t believe it,” Hendryx wrote.
Originally known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, the trio were a conventional girl group ala the Supremes before transforming into an Afro-futuristic glam rock outfit, even changing the group’s name to Labelle in 1971. Unlike other groups, all three women sang both background and lead vocals.
The ahead of their time group landed a smash hit in 1974 with their Billboard No. 1 hit “Lady Marmalade,” an empowerment anthem regarding sexuality before disbanding in 1976. The song gained renewed life in 2001 when Christina Aguilera, Mýa, Pink and Lil’ Kim covered it for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Their first went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and earned a Grammy Award in 2002 for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.”
Like LaBelle, Dash opted for a solo career and became well-known as a session singer for The Rolling Stones and more.
We offer our condolences to Dash’s family, fans and colleagues.