Koko Taylor, R.I.P.

“Queen Of The Blues” Koko Taylor passed away this afternoon in a hospital in Chicago, the result of complications from surgery last month. Taylor moved to Chicago with her would-be husband Robert “Pops” Taylor when she was in her 20s. After her big voice got the attention of songwriter/producer Willie Dixon at a Chicago jam session, she signed with the legendary blues label Chess Records; she had a No. 4 hit on the R & B charts with her version of the Dixon-penned “Wang Dang Doodle” in 1966. Taylor left Chess in 1973, and in 1975, she signed with the Chicago-based blues label Alligator Records. Taylor, who won 29 Blues Music Awards and a Grammy over the course of her career, also co-hosted a blues radio show in nearby Gary, Ind., when her schedule permitted. A few tracks from her body of work after the jump.

“Wang Dang Doodle”


“Voodoo Woman”

“I’m A Woman” (on the Kennedy Center Honors Tribute To Morgan Freeman)

Taylor was 80.

“Queen Of The Blues” Koko Taylor Dead At 80 [Chicago Sun-Times via somevelvetblog]
Koko Taylor [Official site]

  • cheesebubble

    Koko Taylor’s most recent live performance (in May) was in Memphis at the Blues Music Awards. She performed “Wang Dang Doodle” and won “Traditional Blues Female Artist Of The Year.” This was her 29th Blues Music Award, more than any other artist. Fitting that her last performance was the very song that spawned her success, all those years ago. As “Queen of the Blues,” Taylor influenced many blues artists that followed her – especially women. Many blues, jazz, and soul artists seem to die young. So it’s great that she was able to live a long life and have success doing what she loved.