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June 4, 2009

Queen of the Blues Koko Taylor Dies

Written by
cindy mcleod

blues music news

Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor
1928 – 2009

Chicago Blues Legend Dies Following Surgery

Legendary blues singer Koko Taylor, Chicago’s reigning Queen of the Blues, has died at age 80. Hospitalized in Chicago since May, Ms. Taylor died as a result of complications following gastrointestinal surgery.

Koko Taylor’s most recent performance was May 7th at the Blues Music Awards ceremony in Memphis, Tennessee, where she performed Willie Dixon’s Wang Dang Doodle. During the ceremony Ms. Taylor was presented the award for ‘Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year’, her 29th Blues Music Award and more than any other artist in the history of the program.

Born in 1928 on a sharecropper’s farm, Koko, who was so-named for her love of chocolate, began performing with her brothers and sisters as a child.

Marrying in the early ’50s, her husband “Pops” encouraged her to sit in with Chicago’s top blues bands, where in 1962 she was approached by the great Willie Dixon, who landed her a contract with Chess Records and produced two albums and several singles, including the 1965 hit that became her signature song, Wang Dang Doodle.

Moving to the Alligator Records label in 1975, Koko recorded nine albums and received 8 Grammy nominations, including one for her 2007 release, Old School.

On March 3, 1963 Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley honoured Ms. Taylor with a “Legend Of The Year” Award and declared “Koko Taylor Day” throughout Chicago. In 1997, she was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame. A year later, Chicago Magazine named her “Chicagoan Of The Year” and in 1999, Taylor received the Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Koko appeared in the films Wild At Heart, Mercury Rising and Blues Brothers 2000. She performed on Late Night With David Letterman, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, CBS-TV’s This Morning, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, CBS-TV’s Early Edition, and numerous regional television programs.

Koko Taylor is survived by her husband Hays Harris, daughter Joyce Threatt, son-in-law Lee Threatt, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements will be announced.

for more info visit www.kokotaylor.com

One comment for this post.

  1. Pingback from Just Chess » Blog Archive » Queen of the Blues Koko Taylor Dies on June 5th, 2009 :

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