Chicago Blues legend Koko Taylor has died. She was 80. She died on June 3 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago from complications associated with gastrointestinal surgery. Taylor became famous for her signature hits such as “Wang Dang Doodle,” “I’m a Woman” and “Hey Bartender.” She was from the same generation as musicians Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf with songs that were deeply rooted in Southern culture.
She was born Cora Walton in Memphis in 1928 and grew up on a farm with no electricity or running water with three brothers and two sisters. By the time she was 11, both of her parents had died. She moved to Chicago by the 1950s, got married and worked as a domestic but fell in love with the Blues after attended some of Chicago’s most legendary clubs on the South Side. She will be remembered for breaking down barriers for other female singers who wanted to cross over into the role of bandleader. She went on to win a Grammy in 1984 and had just performed less than four weeks ago at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis. She appeared to be recovering from her surgery when she died.
Taylor is survived by her husband, daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.-WLW