Pervis Staples Passes Away at the Age of 85 - Los Angeles Sentinel | Los  Angeles Sentinel | Black News

Singer Pervis Staples, whose tenor voice complimented his father’s and sisters’ in the legendary gospel group the Staple Singers, has died. He was 85. Pervis Staples died May 6 at his home in Dalton, IL, according to Adam Ayers, a spokesman for Staples’ sister Mavis. The cause of death wasn’t given. Pervis Staples sang gospel songs with his father, the guitar-playing Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and sisters Mavis, Yvonne and Cleotha in Chicago churches before gaining a national following with the songs “So Soon”, “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again”, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Uncloudy Day” in the 1950s. The group gained fame in the 1960s by singing songs that urged change on a variety of social and religious issues. The Staple Singers gained a huge audience with their #1 hit “I’ll Take You There” in 1972 and followed with the top 40 hits “Respect Yourself”, “Heavy Makes You Happy” and “If You’re Ready (Come With Me).” However, Pervis’ last album with The Staple Singers was their first for Stax Records, “Soul Folks In Action” in 1968. The album featured such songs as “The Ghetto” and their interpretations of such songs as Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” and The Band’s “The Weight.” He went on to manage the female trio The Emotions and operated the nightclub Perv’s House. Pervis Staples was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his family in 1999. The group also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2005. Mavis Staples, the lone survivor of the group, said in a statement that her brother’s childhood was filled with wonderful experiences. Despite the success of Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke, Roebuck Staples routinely rejected offers to the group to record rhythm and blues, saying it was in conflict with his faith. However, it was with the nudging of Pervis Staples that the group compromised by performing message music in the 1960s, performing at music festivals across the country. Pervis Staples was born on November 18, 1935 in Drew, Mississippi. He and his family moved to Chicago for economic opportunities. That is where Roebuck Staples began teaching his children gospel songs to entertain them and occupy their time. Pervis Staples was preceded in death by his parents, Roebuck and Oceola; and three sisters Cynthia, Cleotha and Yvonne. He is survived by his sister Mavis, six children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grand children. Funeral services will be held Monday in Chicago.