Sharon Jones, Modern Soul Legend and Leader of The Dap-Kings, Has Died | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sharon Jones in Austin, Texas in 2010.

Sharon Jones, Modern Soul Legend and Leader of The Dap-Kings, Has Died

The Singer and Acclaimed Performer Has Lost Her Battle with Cancer at Age 60

Nov 18, 2016 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
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Modern soul legend Sharon Jones (of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings) has died at age 60. The singer had been battling pancreatic cancer. A statement was released this evening on the Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Facebook page that in part read: “We are deeply saddened to announce Sharon Jones passed away today after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”

There was such a light in Jones. As a performer, even though she didn’t find success until her mid-40s, her contemporaries couldn’t hold a candle to her infectious energy and commanding stage presence. She was born the youngest of six children on May 4, 1956 in North Augusta, South Carolina. Her family soon moved to New York City, but her parents divorced. “I never experienced the parent father/mother love type of thing,” she told Under the Radar’s Laura Studarus in 2010. “But I experienced the love of a parent. We may not have gotten what we wanted, but we got what we needed.”

Jones soon gravitated towards music. “No one sat me down and taught me how to sing, how to do anything. I learned. I listened. I would sing along with Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin and James Brown and Otis and Tina Turner and Gladys Knight,” she told us in 2010. In her 20s and 30s she found little success as a professional singer, despite her obvious talent, and so she famously also worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison and an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank. “I never stopped singing, but as far as trying to get an album or something, yeah, that was gone,” she explained in 2010. Her break came in 1996 when she was the only one of the three hired backing singers to show up to a recording session for soul singer Lee Fields. Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman organized the session and were impressed enough with Jones to record some solo songs with her. Roth eventually set up Daptone Records and put together The Dap-Kings, which he was also a member of, to back Jones. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ debut album, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, was released in 2002. That was followed by 2005’s Naturally, 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights, 2010’s I Learned the Hard Way, 2014’s Give the People What They Want, and 2015’s It’s a Holiday Soul Party.

Back in 2013 Jones was diagnosed with stage one bile duct cancer, which was later re-diagnosed as stage two pancreatic cancer. It led to the postponement of the band’s fifth album, Give the People What They Want, which then came out the following year. “It’s really scary, and I hate being down this long,” Jones told Under the Radar’s Matt Fink at the time. “You see how I move onstage, and to be down for months and not moving, not practicing, that’s not good. All these years I’ve been on the road, the only time I really had to cancel was when my mom was sick.” Jones fought the cancer hard and following surgery and treatment was well enough to get back on the road.

A documentary directed by Barbara Kopple, Miss Sharon Jones!, chronicled her battle with cancer and her return to the stage and was released this summer. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2015 and it was there that it was announced that Jones’ cancer had sadly returned.

We interviewed Jones this summer for our most recent print issue, The Protest Issue. The interview was in part about Miss Sharon Jones! and the need for more government funding for cancer research. Jones was honest about her tough fight against the disease. “It’s a struggle. I have up days and down days. I think a lot of the pain meds have a big effect on how I’m feeling,” Jones said to Under the Radar’s Joshua Miller. “The treatments are intense, but I just take it one day at a time. I’m gonna keep going forward and battling through the pain. The battle is on. I’m gonna keep on pushing on.”

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were invited to perform at the White House on October 3rd of this year as part of South by South Lawn, an event inspired by South by Southwest with President Barack Obama in attendance. Unfortunately Jones was unable to attend due to her cancer battle and The Dap-Kings performed without her.

Jones was a fighter and survivor and arguably the greatest living soul performer. Without her resilience she would have never found success in her middle age, despite years of rejection. In our 2010 interview, Jones offered advice to singers looking for a break. “You never give up your faith,” she said. “That’s something I’d tell any young person. You have a dream, you follow that. You don’t let anybody get on your dream! It might not be going the way you want it, but you have to stay focused. Sometimes you’ve got to let go and get rid of things, drop everything, go clear your head out and start fresh. But you stay focused on what you want to do. If you’ve got that talent, go for it.”


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Giuseppe Antonio Ciano
November 19th 2016

( In loving memory of Sharon Jones; For her family, fiends and loyal fans; thank-you, Amen ):

Hi. God loves You. Peace, man. Revealed; The Truth about
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit: Revelation 2:17, The Urantia Book, free,
online. Please share with everyone, (without
a doubt or Prejudice, Our only True Holy Grail), @AntonKnebenson @GAC8717

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Why? A New Revelation with the Spirit of Truth is here Today to Help All of us
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Blessing for all Good Loving Believers who Wish to share the Truth about Jesus,
The Son of God and the Holy Spirit:


For all the Children who are Ruined by shame



Mirror child


The image of a precious dove

Dancing barefoot on the beach

Drinking in love and sunshine

full of smiles

never having to die.


Mere child


Dreaming awhile on a school title

Learning to carry books for miles.


Crayons, pencils, stencils

Nothing you need to do but

Sing and carry the wind on

Your wings.


Mirror child


Like daddy or mommy

Carrying so many burdens for

A little person

All the time


Not able

To catch the spies and



Go back to the skies,

Little dove


And play with the eagles who tamed this land

Until you are a spirit so good and pure

That you will truly guide the directions of our

Bloodied hands.




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Muscles of Clay,

Eyes of pitifully empty bliss,

Teeth of dragons never begotten,

You stand alone


Praying to brainless demons

Praising power empty

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You shall reap no Glory

But only Mortal death and baptized Shame

So as to Die without Jesus

Or any Holy Name.


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Broken tears and stardom,

Born of evil and deviltries

Ill conceived


Raise Your Heart to God

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And He will Remove Your Pain,

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And bring you Spiritual Relief

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For All People,

Believe in Jesus,

The Son of Mary and God,

And You Will Be
Immortally Saved

For ever more,

And Be Loved By Our Holy Father God

For all Eternity.



I Am a Divine Messenger, ( Described in The Urantia Book as
The Solitary Messenger), Working
Directly with Guardian Arch Angel Michael J Christ and His Angels, and I come
To Share Good News, and the Facts about our Only True Holy God from The Heavens
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In The Name of Jesus
and The

Holy Spirit, Amen.