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Johnnie Taylor was born on this date in 1938. He was a Black singer and producer.
Born in Crawford, Arkansas, Johnnie Harrison Taylor was raised in nearby West Memphis. Inspired equally by gospel and blues (the legendary blues man Junior Parker was his neighbor), Taylor first recorded in the early 1950S as part of the Five Echoes, a Doo-Wop group. Taylor's lead singing was strikingly close to Sam Cooke, and he took Cooke's place in the Soul Stirrers in 1957. After two years, Taylor left to pursue a short career as a preacher.
Eventually, Cooke recruited Taylor intending to make him a Pop/R&B attraction. Taylor gained popularity with "Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day" (1962). In 1966, Taylor signed" and "I’ve Got To Love Somebody." Two years later, Taylor's style easily recorded "Who’s Makin Love," which shot to the top of the R&B charts. Taylor's name rarely left the bestseller list for the next seven years. His first million-seller was followed by such classics as "Take Care of Your Homework," "Jody’s Got Your Girl," "Steal Away, and "Cheaper To Keep Her," to name a few.
With Stax records' demise, Taylor moved to Columbia, recording "Disco Lady," which was at the top of everybody's charts in 1975. After leaving Columbia, he stopped briefly at Beverly Glen Records in 1982, recording an album and climbing back into the charts with the "What About My Love" single. In 1984, he joined Malaco Records. His initial Malaco album was "This Is Your Night." The follow-up "Wall To Wall" proved to be a satisfying popular release for him; Johnnie Taylor died just south of Dallas in June 2000.
ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980
Heart & Soul
A Celebration of Black Music Style in America 1930-1975
by Merlis Davin Seay, Forward by Etta James
Copyright 2002, Billboard Books