Jones first began singing in church and school, before performing professionally as a wedding singer in the 1970s. The bulk of Jones' success, however, came three decades later, after starting her band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. The band released its debut album, Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, to immediate attention and critical acclaim in 2002, and quickly released three more albums, Naturally (2005), 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007) and I Learned the Hard Way (2010).
In June 2013, Jones announced that she was diagnosed with cancer, and subsequently put the band's fifth album, Give the People What They Want, on hold while she underwent chemotherapy. During the 2015 premiere of her documentary film, Miss Sharon Jones!, the singer revealed that her cancer had returned.
Throughout her career, Jones performed with artists like Lou Reed, Michael Buble, John Legend, and Stevie Wonder, and opened for acts like Amy Winehouse, Dave Matthews Band and Prince. Jones was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best R&B Album for Give the People What They Want in 2014 and was honored for her documentary at the 2016 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.
Jones is survived by her four siblings, Dora, Isiah, and Henry Jones, and Willian Stringer, as well as her seven nieces and three nephews. She was scheduled to perform James Brown songs with Lee Fields, Bettye LaVette and Terrace Martin at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on the day she died.