Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1945, she later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the mid-1950s where she got reacquainted with fellow adopted Philadelphian Nona Hendryx and Philadelphian natives Patricia "Patsy" Holte and Sandra Tucker. In 1960, following the break-up of a rival girl group, Hendryx and Dash joined Holte and Tucker in "The Ordettes". In 1961, Tucker was replaced by Philadelphia-born Cindy Birdsong and the quartet became The Bluebelles in 1962. The group changed their name again to Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles after Holte was advised to changed her name. Among the Bluebelles hits including the doo-wop classic, "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" and doo-wop-esque R&B ballads "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "Danny Boy", the top forty classic, "Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song)", the soul standard "All or Nothing" and their now-legendary rendition of "Over the Rainbow", which LaBelle later transformed into a tour-de-force in her 1981 solo cover. Dash sings with a sharp alto.
In 1978, Dash released her self-titled debut album, which included the disco classic, "Sinner Man" and vocals on several stunning ballads, notably "You," and "We're Lovers After All," and "I Can't Believe Someone Like You Could Really Love Me," (with a full gospel choir backing), she also had another minor disco hit with (Come and Take) This Candy from Your Baby. Dash enjoyed much success and television and public appearances with "Sinner Man." At this time, she was asked to compose and sing "For The Love of You" (the theme song for the 1980s PBS show Watch Your Mouth) and "Bringing It All Home." She also guest-starred on an episode of the Watch Your Mouth, and played a fictional character, a super diva with an attitude, "Tessie Bright," to the hilt.
However, on the Kirshner albums, and especially Ooh La La, Sarah Dash, (1980) she was given substandard material to work with, although she wrote "I Feel Good Being Me" for this album. It featured one strong disco track, "Ooh La La, Too Soon," which was used in a Sassoon jeans commercial, and the late Phyllis Hyman provided backing vocals to the album. But by 1980, disco was dead, and many talented divas such as Dash, Linda Clifford, Pattie Brooks, Cheryl Lynn, and even Donna Summer, were at a loss as to how to proceed musically. After releasing one more musically stronger album Close Enough, for Kirshner, which features standout ballads like "Somebody's Angel" and "God Bless You," and the rocker, "Paradise," Dash left Kirshner for other opportunities.
In 1983, Dash released two dance singles for Megatone Records in San Francisco, both produced by the late Patrick Cowley. The first, "Low Down Dirty Rhythm" was basically ignored, but the second single "Lucky Tonight" (featuring background vocals by Sylvester, was much more successful, even rising to the #5 spot on Billboard's Dance Chart, and was even a Billboard "Pick of the Week." Dash was excited about her career again and went on an extensive tour of major U.S. dance clubs. There was supposed to be an album, but because of the untimely death of Cowley, the album was never recorded.
Dash's most experimental musical endeavor was the recording she made on the Rap record, Satisfaction, for High Fidelity Three in 1985. This single was groundbreaking because it was one of the first (if not the first) rap records that combined a rapper with a vocalist. It was not given much attention at the time, since rap was still in its early stages, but today it is considered a classic, especially with New York DJs.
Also during this time, Dash did a great deal of session work for The O'Jays, Nile Rodgers of Chic (duetting on a beautiful ballad with Rodgers, "My Love Song for You" from, The Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove - a collector's item now), The Marshall Tucker Band, and David Johansen.
In the later 1980s, she teamed up with musician Dr.York for the duet It's Too Late (for which York even took out ad space on the cover of Billboard magazine, alas to little success).
Then in 1988 she was signed to Manhattan Records, (via EMI) and released the album entitled You're All I Need. This set included a title track duet with Patti Labelle; a further duet "Don't Make Me Wait" with Ray, Goodman & Brown; and "To Tell You The Truth". The album was overproduced for some reason, and kept Dash's vocals hidden in the background. The outstanding cuts on the CD are "It's Over," where Dash really belts out and makes full use of her vocal range, and the sweet ballad, "After Love." Once again, unluckily, EMI decided not to promote the album, and it was met with only moderate success. Dash has not recorded an album since.
Subsequently, Dash released another unnoticed dance single in 1990, "When You Talk to Me / Manhandled," with D.J. "Jellybean" Benitez.
On a much higher note (no pun intended), asked to add her strong background vocals to the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels album, which eventually led to a tour with her old friend Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos in the 1990s. They became close when Patti Labelle and The Blue Bells opened for Stones in the early 60s. She recorded the duet "Make No Mistake" with him, and she took the lead vocal on "Time Is on My Side", which, Keith has said in his autobiography, is 'the best version of that song he's ever heard'. She also recorded lead vocals for "Rock Awhile". For his next album, Dash wrote and sang another track, "Body Talk." Another highlight during her tour with Keith Richards was her singing the female vocal on "Gimme Shelter." Dash starts the song with the her silvery "Oohs' and then really cuts loose on her solo in the middle of the song. It is only available on the Keith Richards "Eileen" CD single from Virgin Records. In 1992, Dash added her background vocals to Ronnie Wood's Live at The Ritz album.
Lately, Dash has made a few guest appearances on albums, including Temptation and Persuasion's cut "Greener." From time to time, she also does jazz/blues shows in small clubs on the east coast.
Sarah took a break to work on her autobiography, Dash of Diva. She decided with her friend and confidante the late Pam Johnson scripted excerpts and wrote a musical with the same title debut at The Cross Roads Theater in New Brunswick.
Dash received a citation from the deputy Mayor of New York City, Ruth Messenger, for her work and efforts in the underprivileged New York City community, where she raised funds for homeless single women with children. With her unselfish and generous time, Dash's collected donations and funds she acquired for these mothers and their children included clothing, toys, books, after-school activities, excursions to amusement parks, theater in the parks, and most important of all extra food.
The biggest news for Dash and her fans lately is that Labelle, having reunited for television a few times over the years and sporadic recordings, have recorded (January 2006, release date to be determined) a tribute to civil rights leader Rosa Parks entitled "Dear Rosa." In 2008, the long-awaited new album from Labelle (Patti, Nona & Sarah), Back to Now, was released to rave reviews. Dash sings a lead part in the group's political song, "System", which featured LaBelle and Hendryx singing side by side to Dash encouraging her to choose either side.
Dash's voice had taken a while to return after her injury on the New York subway and hospitalization, but she is now back in full control of her beautiful voice.
Dash headlined for a month in the San Francisco Cirque-du-sole-ish Teatro Zinzanni and performed at the 2007 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender parade. She is also busy at work on a gospel album.
Dash was honored by her hometown of Trenton, NJ by being the Grand Marshall in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade was held on Saturday November 22nd, 2008. The honor was presented to Dash in hopes that it will spark encouragement to the city, that there are successful people that come from Trenton with hard work. Dash's hometown of Trenton is at a point where morale is at an all time low, and crimes such as murder is at an all time high.