Disco Legend Joni Sledge Dies At Age 60

CNN reports:

Joni Sledge, a founding member of the R&B vocal group Sister Sledge, was found dead Friday in her home in Phoenix, publicist Biff Warren told CNN on Saturday. She was 60 years old. The Sledge family was shocked by her death as she had not been ill, Warren said. The cause of death was unknown. The group of sisters were best known for the 1979 dance anthem “We Are Family.” Other hits were “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and “My Guy.”

The sisters Joni, Debbie and Kim made up Sister Sledge. Kathy, a fourth sister, was another original member but left the ensemble in 1989, according to the group’s website. The group became famous in 1979 with the Grammy-nominated “We Are Family,” written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic. The song celebrated familial bonds, became a staple at weddings and was adopted as an unofficial anthem by the Pittsburgh Pirates during their 1979 championship season.

Over their career Sister Sledge landed eight singles on the Billboard pop chart and 18 singles on the R&B chart. The group performed continuously since their formation and had a European tour scheduled for this year.

  • another_steve

    Oy… what is it with all these people dying in their 60s.

    Enough already.

    • bambinoitaliano

      Grim Reaper took cue from Trumpcare and decided to up his game in 2017.

  • kaydenpat

    Too young.

  • HZ81

    RIP, Joni.

  • That is so sad. Way too young. I didn’t realize she lived here in Phoenix.

  • Gerry Fisher


  • Bj Lincoln

    What a shame. 60 with no illness? Probably a heart attack. I had a friend who never smoked or drank and exercised everyday but had what they call a ‘widow maker’. It’s a sudden clog causing a massive attack. A brain aneurysms is quick and painless.

    • TuuxKabin

      Somehow my niece survived and completely rehabilitated to a now productive active life. She was in her early 20’s and ‘switched to Jesus’ as a result. Sigh.

    • Mihangel apYrs

      One of my friends (77) died in January – the same thing a clot went wandering. He just “stopped”. It would appear to be a good end for the “departed”, but is a horrible shock for anyone with them at the time, and a shock to everyone else who weren’t expecting it!

    • fuzzybits

      My friend Angie had an undiagnosed heart condition. She got up to go to the bathroom one night and collapsed. Her girlfriend found her the next morning. She was only 50.

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  • JoeMyGod

    RELATED: Kathy Sledge got a lot of grief when she left the act (her sisters even sued her for using their name) but I quite liked her solo stuff, especially her cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star” – the good version of which appears to only be on Spotify.


    • Danieruw

      I have a copy of her cd maxi-single of “Another Star”. Phenomenal! I found it in a music store in Helsinki, Finland back in the mid-90’s.

  • BeaverTales

    My mom was a disco diva and a huge fan. I’m of the age where all the household names of my teenage years are dying off. Not dealing with it as well as I’d like.

    Thanks for the memories.

  • RIP Joni. you won’t be forgotten.

  • boobert

    Those were the days! I still love disco ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_XLSHOHjG4

  • PublicSchool

    And a handle of elderqueers wept.

    RIP, Miss Joni.

  • Henry Auvil

    Somehow I didn’t know Nile and Bernard were behind “We Are Family”, but it makes sense–it’s pure, infectious, essential genius. Condolences to all her families.

  • Villager

    RIP Sister Joni. What a great group. Timeless music from the disco era.
    Loved the line from “He’s the Greatest Dancer”: “Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci”

  • fuzzybits

    RIP Joni. You made something everlasting.

  • gothambear

    I thought they later sued Edwards & Rodgers to get out of their recording contract with them – which seemed kind of crazy but there you go.

    • Cipher

      Very strong personalities all around. They reportedly argued during the recording of the first album, “We Are Family”. Some of the lyrics were too racy for the young sisters, why can’t we do it this way, not that way, etc. In the end the official line was that the many compromises improved the final product.

  • Michael

    I loved this group and especially “We are Family.” May Joni rest in peace.

  • JCF
  • TheManicMechanic

    The soundtrack to many of our lives here loses another artist. πŸ™

  • Derrick Johns

    Joni was a very nice and humble person. I took a class with her here at Temple University. Cathy (or Kathy) was very nice also.