Sharon Jones, vocalist of the retro-soul institution Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, passed away on Friday after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. And in a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, her bandmate Gabriel Roth reveals that she suffered a stroke on the night of 11/8 while watching the election results. “I flew out and met her up in the hospital in Cooperstown, and I saw her and she told the people that were there that Trump gave her the stroke,” Roth said, laughing. “She was blaming Trump for the whole thing.”
She had another stroke the following day. “After that, she couldn’t talk or really respond anymore,” Roth says. But she could still sing:
Binky [Griptite, a Dap-Kings member] started to play the guitar and she started humming along. It was kind of remarkable. She was just moaning at first, and then she was moaning in tune and then she started following chord changes and pretty soon she was humming “His Eye On The Sparrow” with him.
We all just kept playing and singing with her, and little by little over the next couple of days she actually started moving her mouth and started singing lyrics. She just wanted to sing these gospel songs.
Every time we’d stop, she’d just keep singing — “Amazing Grace” and “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” “This Little Light Of Mine.” We just stayed with her and sang with her and played music with her.
Over the next week, the whole band stayed with her in the hospital. “She still couldn’t talk, and couldn’t answer questions, but that part of her that’s singing, that part of her that made music and that loved music and that was musical just didn’t want to go. It was just so strong,” Roth says. “And, you know, it was very sad, but it was also very beautiful and kind of amazing to see that. I mean, she was the strongest person any of us had ever known, and she just kept singing. She didn’t want to stop singing.”