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Koko Taylor

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Birth name  Cora Walton
Name  Koko Taylor
Years active  Late 1950sā€“2009

Occupation(s)  Singer
Also known as  KoKo
Role  Singer
Koko Taylor Funeral Services Planned For Blues Legend Koko Taylor
Born  September 28, 1928 Millington, Tennessee (1928-09-28)
Genres  Chicago blues, electric blues, rhythm and blues, soul, soul blues, traditional blues
Labels  Alligator Records, MCA, Checker, Chess, Yambo Records, Charly Records,
Died  June 3, 2009, Kildeer, Illinois, United States
Movies  Blues Brothers 2000, B.B. King: Blues Summit
Albums  What It Takes: The Chess Ye, The Earthshaker, Force of Nature, Deluxe Edition, From the Heart of a Woman

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Koko Taylor (September 28, 1928 ā€“ June 3, 2009) was an American singer whose style encompassed many genres. including Chicago blues, electric blues, rhythm and blues and soul blues. She was sometimes called "The Queen of the Blues." She was known for her rough, powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings. Her name was sometimes styled KoKo Taylor.


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Life and career

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Born Cora Anna Walton on a farm near Memphis, Tennessee, she was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Tennessee for Chicago in 1952 with her husband, Robert "Pops" Taylor, a truck driver. In the late 1950s she began singing in blues clubs in Chicago. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to more opportunities for performing and her first recording contract, in 1965, with Checker Records, a label owned by Chess Records, for which she recorded "Wang Dang Doodle", a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf five years earlier. The record became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B chart and number 58 on the pop chart in 1966, and selling a million copies. She recorded several versions of the song over the years, including a live rendition at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival, with the harmonica player Little Walter and the guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Her subsequent recordings, both original songs and covers, did not achieve as much success on the charts.

Koko Taylor Koko Taylor Biography Albums amp Streaming Radio AllMusic

Taylor became better known by touring in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed a recording contract with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, eight of which were nominated for Grammy awards, and came to dominate ranks of female blues singers, winning twenty-five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist).


She survived a near-fatal car crash in 1989. In the 1990s she appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 and Wild at Heart. She opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, which relocated to Wabash Avenue, in Chicago's South Loop, in 2000 (the club is now closed).

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In 2003, she appeared as a guest with Taj Mahal in an episode of the television series Arthur. In 2009, she performed with Umphrey's McGee at the band's New Year's Eve concert at the Auditorium Theater, in Chicago.

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Taylor influenced Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, Susan Tedeschi, and other singers.

In her later years, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago, in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service said that Taylor owed $400,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest, for the years 1998, 2000 and 2001. In those years combined, her adjusted gross income was $949,000.

Taylor's final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009. She suffered complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19 and died on June 3 at her home in Kildeer, Illinois.


  • Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album, 1985
  • Howlin' Wolf Award, 1996
  • Blues Hall of Fame, inducted 1997
  • Blues Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, 1999
  • NEA National Heritage Fellowship, 2004
  • Blues Music Award (formerly the W. C. Handy Award), 24 times, in the following categories:
  • Contemporary Blues Female Artist
  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Female Artist
  • Traditional Blues Female Artist
  • Vocalist of the Year
  • 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Blues Album
  • Discography

  • Love You Like a Woman, November 30, 1968 (Charly Records)
  • Koko Taylor, 1969 (MCA/Chess Records)
  • Basic Soul, 1972 (Chess)
  • South Side Lady, 1973 (Black and Blue Records)
  • I Got What It Takes, 1975 (Alligator Records)
  • Southside Baby, 1975 (Black & Blue)
  • The Earthshaker, 1978 (Alligator)
  • From the Heart of a Woman, 1981 (Alligator)
  • Queen of the Blues, 1985 (Alligator)
  • Live from Chicago: An Audience with the Queen, 1987 (Alligator)
  • "Wang Dang Doodle", 1991 (Huub Records)
  • Jump for Joy, 1992 (Alligator)
  • Force of Nature, 1993 (Alligator)
  • Royal Blue, 2000 (Alligator)
  • Old School, 2007 (Alligator)
  • References

    Koko Taylor Wikipedia