Illustration by BRENT AFFRUNTI
Stephen Colbert is set to join Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples and Sean Lennon in a performance of the John Lennon holiday song “Happy Christmas (War Is Over) on The Colbert Report TONIGHT. The performance is part of the show’s “Christmas Carol Week” and will air Thursday December 13th on Comedy Central at 11:30pm and repeats at 1:30 am the same night as well as 10:00 am and 6:30 pm the following day. All times ET/PT. Full episodes are posted the following day HERE. Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples are currently in the studio working on Staples’ upcoming 2013 release. The album is the anticipated follow up to her critically acclaimed album You Are Not Alone which was produced by Tweedy and won a Grammy Award in the Best Americana Album vocal or Instrumental category.
RELATED: The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B singing group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (b. 1934), Pervis (b. 1935), Yvonne (b. 1936), and Mavis (b. 1939). They are best known for their 1970s hits “Respect Yourself“, “I’ll Take You There“, “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)“, and “Let’s Do It Again“. The family began appearing in Chicago-area churches in 1948, and signed their first professional contract in 1952. During their early career they recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with various labels: United Records, Vee-Jay Records (their “Uncloudy Day” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” were best sellers), Checker Records, Riverside Records, and then Epic Records in 1965. While the family surname is “Staples”, the group used the singular form for its name, resulting in the group’s name being “The Staple Singers”. It was on Epic that the Staple Singers began moving into mainstream pop markets, with “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” and “For What It’s Worth” (Stephen Stills) in 1967. In 1968, the Staple Singers signed to Stax Records and released two albums with Steve Cropper and Booker T & the MG’s — Soul Folk in Action and We’ll Get Over. By 1970, Al Bell had become producer, and with Engineer Terry Manning, the family began recording at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and Memphis’ Ardent Studios, moving in a more funk and soul direction. The first Stax hit was “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)”. Their 1971 recording of “Respect Yourself“, written by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice, peaked at #2 on the R&B charts and was a #12 pop hit as well. The song’s theme of self-empowerment had universal appeal, released in the period immediately following the intense American civil rights movement of the 1960s. In 1972, the group had a huge #1 hit in the United States with “I’ll Take You There“. MORE