The 29th Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park is June 8-10. Mavis Staples, formerly of The Staple Singers, will headline this year's annual festival, the Chicago Tribune reported.
She's one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time
Staples, 72, is the recipient of a number of significant awards for her achievements in music, as listed at The Rosebud Agency. Staples is a Grammy winner; she's one of VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll; she's listed on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time; and in 1999 she, along with the rest of The Staple Singers, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
How she got to be one of The Staple Singers
The world would not have the opportunity to enjoy the music of Staples if it weren't for The Staple Singers. The group came about in a unique way. In an interview at Bullseye, Mavis reports how her father, Pops Staples, ditched The Trumpet Jubilees for his children.
"Pops was singing with an all-male group, The Trumpet Jubilees, and they were six guys. These guys -- Pops would go to rehearsal, go home and discuss it, there may be two of them there. The whole group just wouldn't show up. Pops got so disgusted. He came home one night, went to the closet and pulled out a little guitar he bought at the pawn shop," said Staples. "He called us children into the living room and sat us on the floor in a circle, and began giving us voices to sing that he and his sisters and brothers would sing down in Mississippi."
She recorded "Wonderful Savior" in a stairwell
"You Are Not Alone," produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, includes the single "Wonderful Savior." In an interview at The Pitch, Staples explains what went down when, during the cold Chicago winter, Tweedy insisted the song be recorded in the stairwell because it's a cappella song.
"I told Tweedy I wasn't going out on the stairwell. It was 10 below! He said, 'Mavis, I've been out there, and it sounds so good.' It was an a cappella song. I said, 'You go out there, then.' Finally he stood there and looked at me a long time and said, 'Somebody get Mavis a coat. And a scarf. And a cap and some gloves.'"
She declined to be Bob Dylan's wife
Biography reports Staples and Bob Dylan were an item in the 1960s. The singers dated for seven years, and Dylan asked Staples to marry him. But the gospel singer was heavily involved in the civil rights movement and turned him down. "We had gotten with Dr. King and I was young and stupid, and I was thinking Dr. King wouldn't want me to marry a white guy," said Staples. The singer regrets her decision, and reportedly, Dylan calls Staples, "the love that I lost."
Jolie du Pre is a full-time freelance writer, published author and editor who lives in Chicago. She has immersed herself in the Windy City for more than 30 years and brings that experience to her articles.
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