Patti LaBelle

An R&B diva for over four decades, Patti LaBelle's multi-octave voice, which could soar from a funky roar to an ear-piercing soprano within the same song, was the anchor behind a string of chart-topping hits. LaBelle began her career as a teenager with the Philadelphia-based girl group the Ordettes, which later became a minor success as the Blue Belles. They traded pop orchestration for a funk-rock hybrid as Labelle, scoring a No. 1 hit in 1974 with the brazen "Lady Marmalade." After the group's demise in 1978, LaBelle struggled to keep her solo career afloat until scoring a string of hits in the early 1980s, most notably "New Attitude" and "Stir It Up" for the "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack (1984). She continued to generate chart hits in the 1990s while enjoying her status as a show-stopping live performer at a variety of events, where, for better or worse, she often outshone her fellow performers. LaBelle also enjoyed a modest acting career on television and stage and in films, but music remained her most consistent showcase. Though her recorded output slowed in the 2000s, LaBelle remained a force of nature in concert, where her voice continued to amaze and inspire with its full range of soul.