Born Richard Dean Taylor on the 11th May 1939 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he began his career in 1961 as a pianist and singer with several bands in Toronto. He also made his first recordings in 1961, for the Audiomaster record label. The next year, Taylor’s “At the High School Dance”, a single for Amy-Mala Records, was a minor success. His next single, “I’ll Remember”, on the Barry label, reached number twenty-three for Toronto rock -and-roll radio station CHUM, and the singer decided to relocate to Detroit, Michigan to further his career.
In Detroit, Taylor was hired by Motown Records in 1964 as a songwriter and recording artist for the Motown subsidiary V.I.P. label. Taylor’s scheduled first single (March 1964) for V.I.P. was the topical satire “My Ladybug (Stay Away from That Beatle)”, but it was deemed too weak for release and was never issued.
It was not until November 1965 that Taylor’s debut V.I.P. single, “Let’s Go Somewhere”, was issued. It was written by Taylor in conjunction with Brian Holland, and produced by the team of Holland and Lamont Dozier, who had already produced five number-one songs for The Supremes. However, the song was only a regional success, in several U.S. cities and Toronto.
Taylor’s next single (1967’s “There’s a Ghost in My House”) was written by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland along with Taylor, and again produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. It was also a commercial disappointment in the U.S., but it reached number three in the U.K. in 1974. Taylor was also beginning to become a songwriter for other acts; for example “I’ll Turn to Stone” by the Four Tops and “All I Need” by The Temptations were both charting U.S. singles in 1967, co-composed by him.
In 1968, Taylor’s self-produced single “Gotta See Jane”, (co-written with Brian Holland), became a top-twenty hit in the UK. However, his real success came as a member of the Motown writing and production team known as “The Clan”. This production group were briefly the prime creators of material for Diana Ross & the Supremes after the Holland/Dozier/Holland team left Motown. Among Taylor’s successful co-compositions and co-productions during 1968/69 as a member of The Clan were Diana Ross & the Supremes’ number-one U.S. release “Love Child” and their number-ten releaset “I’m Livin’ in Shame”.
Taylor resumed his recording career in 1970, becoming one of the first artists assigned to Motown’s new subsidiary Rare Earth, which was dedicated to Caucasian artists. In that year his first Rare Earth single, “Indiana Wants Me”, reached number one in his native Canada. It reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number two in the U.K… “Gotta See Jane” was also reissued in 1971, and became a top-ten success in Canada. His 1972 single “Taos, New Mexico” did not do well on the Canadian charts.
Taylor continued recording for Rare Earth, and working as a writer/producer for other artists until Rare Earth was ended in 1976. Though he never again scored the charts as he had done with “Indiana Wants Me”, his releases did moderately well, especially in Canada. As a Canadian citizen, he could be played on CKLW and other Canadian radio stations and counted towards the stations’ Canadian content quotas.
Taylor attempted a comeback during the early 1980s, after which he had a hiatus from the music industry. He has recently established his own record company, Jane Records.
Edited by Grosseteste on 5 Oct 2013, 15:39
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