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During more than 40 years, Patti LaBelle's strong and soulful voice has left its mark on songs on hit lists all over the world. She recently released her album "Timeless Journey," where she really shows all young contenders that she's still among the best R&B singers ever. This Philadelphia born artist got her first hit as early as 1962, but it was with the trio LaBelle that she got the big hit with "Lady Marmalade," which has become one of her best-known songs.

Beautiful, simply does not describe the incomparable force known to the world as Patti LaBelle. As time continues to evolve, the soulful songbird's name has become synonymous with grace, style, elegance and class. Belting out classic rhythm and blues renditions, pop standards, and spiritual sonnets has created the unique platform of versatility that she is known and revered for.

The Philadelphia maven returned to her roots with her project, "The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle." "I was born gospel, so it's not like I'm coming back or trying to impress people with this new gospel project. I've always done this. I've never done a whole album. That's the only thing that's missing," observes the songstress. "I've come full circle where you can say it's a complete project."

Over the tenure of her unmatched career, Patti LaBelle has been many things. From church choir girl to space-age funk queen to the reining mother figure of R&B, LaBelle has grown to become one of the most important figures in her field. Often called a living legend, she is a powerful singer and dramatic songwriter who can boast one of the broadest bases of fans in the world.

Born Patricia Holt, Patti got her start in a Baptist choir in her hometown of Philadelphia. She and friend Cindy Birdsong formed the Ordettes in 1960, and in the following year added Nona Hendryx and Sara Dash to become the Blue Belles. By 1962 she'd seen her first glimpse at stardom after scoring a Top 20 hit with "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman." In 1965, Labelle and her group — now known as Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles — turned the standard "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" into a hit; to this day, LaBelle's version of the song remains a staple in her live show and is mythical for its ability to prompt goose bumps and tears.

Eventually becoming a trio, the newly named LaBelle had become a funky, more rock-oriented band revered for stage theatrics and sexually charged, revolutionary costumes. In 1974, LaBelle become the first group to perform at the Met in New York; there, they debuted another song forever synonymous with the Patti LaBelle cult: "Lady Marmalade."

In 1977, she left the group and released a self-titled album. Aside from that album's still-popular hit, "You Are My Friend," she had minor successes until the early 1980s, when her career shot upward. She scored a #1 with "If Only You Knew" and the fan favorite, "Love, Need & Want You." By the time her song "New Attitude" peaked at #7 on the pop charts in 1985, LaBelle had become an icon not just for her forceful, guttural soprano, but also for her wild hairdos and fabulous stage antics. During her performances, all true Patti LaBelle fans hold their breath until the moment when the diva will kick off her shoes and roll around on stage while faultlessly holding her notes.

She released four more albums in the 1990s, even earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by way of a petition from her fans. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In recent years, the artist has diversified her realm of talents. Her cookbooks fly off shelves, she's done acting for television and film and she's signed on to a second season of a reality TV show. She's become an unintended spokesperson for diabetes prevention and care, and an unwavering supporter in the fight against AIDS. Her last album, 2004's "Timeless Journey," debuted at #16 and went Gold.

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How old is Patti LaBelle? Find out here.

Age: 72 years old
Birthday: May 24, 1944
Full Name / Real Name: Patricia Louise Holte
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Husband: Armstead Edwards (7/23/1969 - 1/1/2000, divorced, 5 children)

"Dancing with the Stars 2015," Season 20 contestants, partners and host 'Dancing with the Stars 2015' Contestants and Partners Revealed — Premiering live Monday, March 16, the twentieth season of the ABC reality ballroom competition series will feature a television icon, a party rocker, a football star and a Shark, to name a few. Read more...
Aretha Franklin 'BET Honors 2012' Performers — Premiering Monday, February 13, this year's event, hosted by Gabrielle Union, will feature Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Cicely Tyson, Common and more. Read more...
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