Sarah Dash, the singer and co-founder of the all-female singing group Labelle, best recognised for their 1974 hit "Lady Marmalade," died Monday at the age of 76. Dash's bandmate Patti LaBelle made the news of her longtime friend's death public on social media. "We were just on stage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment!" LaBelle said on Twitter. "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."
Beyond Labelle, Dash lent her smooth vocals to the recordings and live shows of some of the biggest artists in music, including the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, Stevie Wonder, Laura Nyro, Alice Cooper, the O'Jays, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley and more. She also had a lucrative solo career, seeing success with songs like 1978's "Sinner Man" and 1983's "Low Down Dirty Rhythm."
Born in Trenton, Dash got her start singing gospel music as the daughter of a pastor. After moving to Philadelphia in the '60s, Dash met Patti LaBelle, Cindy Birdsong, and Nona Hendryx, and the quartet soon formed the Bluebelles, which would later become Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.
In 1967, Birdsong departed the group to join the Supremes and the trio changed their name to Labelle. After signing to Warner Bros. Records, Labelle released its self-titled debut album in 1971, followed by "Moon Shadow" in 1972. Labelle's mainstream success came with a trio of albums released in the mid-'70s: "Nightbirds," "Phoenix" and "Chameleon." "Lady Marmalade," a single from "Nightbirds," proved to be the group's most successful song, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and earning international acclaim.