wears the trousers magazine

RIP chicago blues icon koko taylor
June 3, 2009, 11:08 pm
Filed under: mp3, news, trouser press, video | Tags: , , ,

040609_kokotaylorHer remarkable 45-year career will always be remembered

Influential blues star Koko Taylor passed away this afternoon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a fortnight after undergoing corrective surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old. A Chicago native since 1952, Koko’s biggest hit came in 1966 with a million-selling cover of Willie Dixon’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ – previously a hit for Howlin’ Wolf and subsequently recorded by PJ Harvey, The Grateful Dead and The Pointer Sisters, among others – and she went on to great success as an albums artist, nominated for several Grammys and winning 29 Blues Music Awards, the last of which she received as recently as May 7th – her last public performance. Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi have all cited Koko as an influence on their own styles.

After cheating death in a near-fatal car crash 20 years ago, Koko opened her own blues club in Chicago and made guest appearances as herself in David Lynch’s Oscar-nominated ‘Wild At Heart’ and alongside Dan Aykroyd and BB King in ‘Blues Brothers 2000’. Her last album, Old School, was released in 2007 following years of ill health and proved that her talent was as raw and impressive as ever. Her two 1975 albums for Alligator Records are a great place to start if you’re new to Koko’s music – eMusic have both available to download. The 1977 compilation What It Takes: The Chess Years is pretty incredible too, available from iTunes.

Alan Pedder

FREE MP3: Koko Taylor, ‘Blues Never Die’


‘Wang Dang Doodle’ [live, feat. Little Walter]


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