Johnnie Taylor

A versatile vocalist and three-time Grammy nominee, Johnnie Taylor left his mark upon the intersecting worlds of soul, gospel, disco, blues, and R&B during his four-decade career. Born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas, on May 5, 1934, he met Sam Cooke as a teenager and took the singer's place as frontman of the Soul Stirrers in 1957. Taylor sang with the gospel group for four years before launching a solo career in 1961. He released his initial singles with Cooke's label, SAR Records, before signing with the legendary Stax Records in 1966. Nicknamed "The Philosopher of Soul," he became one of the label's biggest stars, earning a chart-topping, Grammy-nominated R&B hit with 1968's "Who's Making Love" and releasing six Top 10 hits during the two years that followed. "Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone" climbed to Number 1 in 1970, with "I Believe in You (You Believe in Me)" also topped the charts in 1973. Stax folded in 1975, but Taylor's hit streak continued with "Disco Lady," which topped the Hot 100 for an entire month in 1976. The song became the first platinum-certified single in America and earned Taylor his second Grammy nomination. Although the singer's commercial success began to wane during the second half of the 1980s, he remained active until his death in 2000, topping America's blues chart with 1996's Good Love! and earning a posthumous Grammy nomination for his final album, Gotta Get the Groove Back, in 2001. Four years after his death, his 1982 single "What About My Love" was sampled by the Shapeshifters on the chart-topping UK single "Lola's Song," giving Taylor one last hit.

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