JACKSON, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Blues and soul singer Denise LaSalle died on January 8th in Jackson, Tenn. following complications from a recent surgery. She was 78.
News of LaSalle’s passing was announced by her longtime record label Malaco Music Group, but they did not disclose the details of the surgery. The New York Times reported that in October, LaSalle, who lived in Jackson, underwent a leg amputation resulting from complications after a fall. She never fully recovered.
In paying tribute to LaSalle, the statement from Malaco read:
“Denise LaSalle possessed an amazing energy and led a lengthy career that spanned several decades. She was a lively firecracker and had a joyful spirit with very few inhibitions of being her real self. On stage, she was a dynamic performer that captivated the audience with her electrifying and sensual lyrics.
“Some may consider her as a pioneer for female performers holding their ground in a male-dominated genre. She came into the Blues and took control, she was unafraid to tackle any topics and she was even less afraid to tackle the issues that many women dealt with from the men in their lives. Her songs hit home for many and helped to build a connection with her fanbase.”
Ms. LaSalle was born Ora Denise Allen on July 6, 1939, near Sidon, Mississippi, and started singing at an early age in local church choirs.
At the age of 13, she moved north to Chicago, where she was exposed to the city’s booming R&B community and by 1967, she had landed a recording contract with Chess Records.
While her first record, “A Love Reputation” only attracted attention regionally, she scored her first major hit in 1971 with “Trapped By a Thing Called Love” on Westbound Records which peaked at #1 on the national R&B chart and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
She followed up her initial success with more hits, including “Now Run and Tell That” and “Man Sized Job”, both of which hit the top ten R&B charts, and she launched an independent production company, Crajon, with her then husband Bill Jones.
In the early 1980s, she moved to what would become her longtime label Malaco Records and started to release what would become a string of successful records over the next two decades through the label.
She recorded her final album, “24 Hour Woman” for the label in 2010.
In addition to her career as a recording artist, LaSalle toured extensively, primarily in the Southeastern U.S., and Europe.
In 2011, She was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame and in 2015, she was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall Of Fame. She was also nominated for a Blues Music Award twice, including in the Blues Foundation’s most recent round of nominations.
Memorial services for LaSalle will take place on Thursday, Jan. 11 at Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis.