Maggie Roche, the eldest sibling in the family band The Roches, died Saturday at the age of 65. The news was broken by her sister Suzzy in a Facebook post, one that indicated Roche had been battling cancer for some time. In Suzzy’s post, she describes Maggie’s illness as a “long struggle,” noting that she was a private person and that, “It’ll be hard for me to carry on without her.”
The Roches formed initially as a duo, with Maggie and Terre receiving their first break by way of Paul Simon. The pair sang on Simon’s 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, and the pair would sign to Columbia Records for their 1975 debut, Seductive Reasoning. Once Suzzy was old enough, she joined her sisters and The Roches were properly formed.
Starting in 1979, the trio would release its self-titled debut, which was produced by King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. The Roches put the sisters vocal ranges’ on full display, while also showing their knack for witty turns of phrase. Maggie was The Roches’ borderline baritone, holding down the lower end and giving The Roches a distinctive feel, one that could be based in acapella but shoot off in any number of directions. The band continued on until 1997, when it was put on hold with the sisters each pursuing their own solo careers. They reformed in 2005 for a tour, and released their final album Moonswept in 2007.