About Johnnie Taylor
Known as the “Philosopher of Soul,” singer Johnnie Taylor touched on gospel, R&B, and disco over the course of his decades-long career. He’s perhaps best known for his 1976 No. 1 smash “Disco Lady.”
• Taylor grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas, and got his start singing in church. As a teen, he sang with the gospel group The Melody Kings and befriended Sam Cooke, then a member of the popular gospel outfit The Soul Stirrers.
• He moved to Chicago in the early ’50s and sang with the doo-wop group The Five Echoes and the gospel group The Highway QCs. In 1957, he replaced Cooke in the Soul Stirrers.
• In the early ’60s, after being fired from The Soul Stirrers, Taylor became the first artist signed to Cooke’s SAR label. He released a string of singles before the label dissolved following Cooke’s death in 1964.
• Taylor signed with Stax Records in 1966 and broke through with the 1968 smash “Who’s Making Love,” which topped the R&B charts and went Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
• While at Stax, Taylor notched two more R&B chart-toppers: “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone” (1971) and “I Believe In You (You Believe In Me)” (1974).
• Having moved to Columbia Records after Stax folded, Taylor topped the pop and R&B charts with 1976’s “Disco Lady,” the first-ever single to be certified platinum.
• Taylor continued recording throughout the ’90s and died in May 2000 at age 66.
BORNMay 5, 1934