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28 September 1928
Bartlett, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
3 June 2009 (aged 80)
Koko Taylor (born September 28, 1935 as Cora Walton, on a farm just outside Memphis, Tennessee) is an American blues musician, popularly known as the "Queen of the Blues." She is known primarily for her rough and powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings.
Taylor left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1954 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor and in the late 1950s began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract. In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records, for which her single Wang Dang Doodle (written by Dixon, and a hit for Howlin' Wolf five years earlier) became a major hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts in 1966 and selling a million copies. Taylor has recorded many versions of this Dixon-penned song over the past several decades and has added more material, both original and covers, but has never repeated that initial chart success.
National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She has since recorded over a dozen albums for that label, many nominated for Grammy awards, and come to dominate the female blues singer ranks, winning 24 W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist). After her recovery from a near-fatal car crash in 1989, the 1990s found Taylor in movies such as Blues Brothers 2000, and she opened a blues club on Division St. in Chicago in 1994, but closed it in 1999.
Koko Taylor has influenced such musicians as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. She curently resides in Country Club Hills, Ill (right outside of Chicago. Lately she has been ill and even havign to undergo sugery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed.Koko is still performing and doing what she loevs best.
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