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Johnnie Taylor


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Johnnie Harrison Taylor (born May 5, 1937, Crawfordsville, Arkansas; died May 31, 2000, Dallas, Texas) was an American musician that sang in a wide variety of genres, including , , , , and . Often using an , belting delivery, he’s perhaps best known for his work for the iconic Stax/Volt label, particularly with classics such as “Who’s Making Love” and “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone” in which he held his own against friendly rivals such as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave.

Growing up amidst music, Taylor had one release, “Somewhere to Lay My Head”, on Chicago’s Chance Records in the as part of a group called Five Echoes. Taylor was also part of the gospel group, The Highway QC’s also, replacing r&b artist Sam Cooke that had left to become the lead singer of the Soul Stirrers in 1951. Then, after Cooke left the Soul Stirrers in 1957, Taylor was hired to take Cooke’s place as lead singer.

A few years later, after Cooke had established his independent SAR Records, Taylor signed on and recorded “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day” in 1962. However, SAR Records quickly became defunct after Cooke’s tradic early death in 1964.

In 1966, Taylor moved to Stax Records in Memphis, where he was dubbed “The Philosopher of Soul”. While there he recorded with the label’s house band, Booker T. & the MGs. His hits included “I Had a Dream”, “I’ve Got to Love Somebody’s Baby” (both written by the team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter) and most notably “Who’s Making Love?”, which reached No.


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