The one and only singer Patti LaBelle called “silver throat” has died.

Sarah Dash, a vocal powerhouse who gained international fame in the 1970s with the groundbreaking R&B trio Labelle, was 76.

The Trenton, New Jersey, native’s death was unexpected and the cause was unknown.

Dash’s death was confirmed to media outlets on Monday afternoon, with close friend, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, posting on Facebook: “Trenton lost a star today with Sarah Dash’s passing. She is now with the angels.”

The politician revealed to the Trentonian newspaper the beloved singer had complained to family that she was not feeling well in the days before her passing.

LaBelle, who remained close friends with Dash since the group disbanded in the mid-1970s, revealed the two last performed over the weekend.


“We were just on stage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment,” LaBelle said in a statement obtained by the Daily News. “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 … loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one.”

During the early 1960s, Dash became a co-founder of Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles, after a few earlier iterations didn’t materialize. Also comprised of Nona Hendryx and Cindy Birdsong (who would later jump ship to replace Florence Ballard in Diana Ross & The Supremes), the group’s first breakout hit was a rousing cover of the rock & roll standard “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.”

After gaining notoriety for their soaring vocals on popular songs as “Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song),” “Danny Boy,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and an evocative rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the group refashioned itself into the glam-rock, afro-futuristic trio Labelle.

Their 1974 hit, “Lady Marmalade” became an instant classic, helping to usher in the disco music era.

That same year, Labelle became the first rock group to play the Metropolitan Opera House. The group became the first Black vocal group to land the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The trio recorded five studio albums together before going on their separate ways, and later reuniting in 2008 for the critically acclaimed “Back to Now” opus followed by a national reunion tour.


In 1978, Dash released a self-titled debut album, which included the disco hits “Sinner Man” and “(Come and Take) This Candy from Your Baby.” She went on to tour with the Rolling Stones and Keith Richards’ solo efforts, and was signed to Manhattan Records in 1988, releasing the album, “You’re All I Need.”

The seventh of 13 children born to a pastor and nurse, she always called Trenton’s West Ward her home.

In 2017, Dash was named the city’s musical ambassador by then-Mayor Eric Jackson.

She was among two dozen honorees being inducted in New Jersey’s Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony scheduled next month.

“She was a true giver … always serving, always sharing her talent and her time,” LaBelle said. “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!”

Later Monday afternoon, LaBelle posted a video clip on Twitter of her and Dash performing a snippet of the group’s signature ballad “Isn’t It a Shame.”

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes also issued a statement.

“The legendary Sarah Dash was celebrated for her enormous musical talent not only in Mercer County but on the world’s stage throughout her 50-plus year career in the entertainment industry,” he said.

“She was beloved in Trenton because she never hesitated to use her talents to improve the lives of Trenton residents, whether it was by promoting the arts in the local community, or more recently, stepping up as a role model during the coronavirus pandemic and using her voice to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. She was an inspiration to so many and she will be missed.”

Comments are not available on this story.