b. Johnnie Harrison Taylor, 5th May 1937, Crawfordsville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
d. 31st May 2000, Charleton Methodist Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Johnnie Taylor was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas.
He left home at the age of 15, Johnnie surfaced as a member of several gospel groups, including the Five Echoes and the Highway QCs.
'Somewhere to Lay My Head', on Chicago's Chance Records imprint was his first 1950's release as part of the gospel group Highway QCs.
The Highway QC's were founded by a young Sam Cooke.
somewhere to lay my head / johnnie with the soul stirrers
Due to similarities with the vocal delivery of Sam's, Johnnie took Cooke's place in the gospel group, the Soul Stirrers, in 1957 at Sam's request.
Johnnie switched to secular recording in 1961, releasing material on Cooke's Sar and Derby labels.
'Rome Wasn't Built In A Day' and 'Oh How I Love You' were released on the label in 1962.
oh how i love you
SAR Records folded following Sam Cooke's death in 1964.
In 1966 he signed with Stax Records and had several R & B hits before 'Who's Making Love' (1968) crossed over into Billboard's pop Top 5.
with don davis at stax
Christened 'The Philosopher of Soul', he recorded with the label's house band, Booker T. & the MGs.
His hits included 'I Had a Dream', 'I've Got to Love Somebody's Baby' and 'Who's Making Love?"', a song which reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number. 1 on the R & B chart in 1968.
Further releases, including 'Take Care Of Your Homework' (1969), 'I Believe In You (You Believe In Me)' and 'Cheaper To Keep Her' (both 1973), continued this success at the imprint.
who's making love / taylored in silk
The albums, 'Wanted: One Soul Singer', 'Who's Making Love' and 'Taylored In Silk' best illustrate his lengthy period at Stax.
Following Stax's demise in the mid 1970's, Johnnie switched to Columbia Records, where he made his best known hit, 'Disco Lady', in 1976.
The part Harvey Scales penned song was the first certified platinum single (two million copies sold) by the RIAA.
eargasm / rated extraordinaire
A parent album entitled 'Eargasm' followed the singles release that year.
'Rated Extraordinaire' followed in 1977, which contained another Harvey Scales song 'Love Is Better In The A.M.' and 'Your Love Is Rated X'.
The following year saw the album 'Ever Ready' hit the streets.
This contained the excellent song 'Soul Fillet'.
ever ready / just ain't good enough
Johnnie relocated to the Beverley Glenn imprint in the early eighties, releasing the excellent Patrick Moten produced 'What About My Love', which contained the Ronald Reagan diatribe 'Reaganomics' along with 'Just Ain't Good Enough', 'I'm So Proud' and the classic title track.
Johnnie then relocated to the Malaco Records imprint after the label's founder Tommy Couch and producing partner Wolf Stephenson heard him sing at blues singer, Z. Z. Hill's funeral in the spring of 1984.
His first album for the label, 'This Is Your Night', reaffirmed his Southern roots, a feature consolidated on latter offerings, 'Wall To Wall', 'Lover Boy' and 'Crazy 'Bout You'.
'Somebody's Gettin' It' compiles several Columbia recordings while Taylor's early work on Sar can be found on 'The Roots Of Johnnie Taylor'.
In 1996, Taylor experienced something of a revival when his Malaco album 'Good Love' became a huge hit and reached the top of the Billboard blues chart.
In 1999, Johnnie's last album was released.
gotta get the groove back
'Gotta Get The Groove Back' was seen as a real return to form.
Johnnie Taylor died on 31st May 2000 from a heart attack. He was 63.
He was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999.
.....do check his families tribute website @ www.johnnietaylor.net
Wanted One Soul Singer (Stax 1967)
Who's Making Love? (Stax 1968)
Raw Blues (Stax 1969)
Looking For Johnnie Taylor (Stax 1969)
The Johnnie Taylor Philosophy Continues (Stax 1969)
Rare Stamps (Stax 1970)
One Step Beyond (Stax 1971)
Taylored In Silk (Stax 1973)
Super Taylor (Stax 1974)
Eargasm (Columbia 1976)
Rated Extraordinaire (Columbia 1977)
Disco 9000 (Columbia 1977)
Ever Ready (Columbia 1978)
Reflections (RCA 1979)
She's Killing Me (1979)
A New Day (1980)
Just Ain't Good Enough (Beverly Glen 1982)
Best Of The Old And The New (Beverly Glen 1984)
This Is Your Night (Malaco 1984)
Wall To Wall (Malaco 1985)
Lover Boy (Malaco 1987)
In Control (Malaco 1988)
Crazy 'Bout You (Malaco 1989)
Little Bluebird (Stax 1990)
I Know It's Wrong, But I ... just Can't Do Right (Malaco 1991)
Real Love (Malaco 1993)
Good Love! (Malaco 1996)
Gotta Get The Groove Back (Malaco 1999)