Koko Taylor sometimes spelled KoKo Taylor (September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009) was an American blues musician, popularly known as the "Queen of the Blues." She was known primarily for her rough powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings. In a May 2003 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, she was quoted as saying, "My life is like a train ride in fields of blue."
Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor. In the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract. In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records, for which her single "Wang Dang Doodle" (written by Dixon, and a hit for Howlin' Wolf five years earlier), featuring guitarist Little Walter, became a major hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts in 1966, and selling a million copies. Taylor recorded many versions of this Dixon-penned song over the past few decades and has added more material, both original and covers, but never repeated that initial chart success.
National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, 8 of which were Grammy-nominated), and come to dominate the female blues singer ranks, winning twenty five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist). After her recovery from a near-fatal car crash in 1989, the 1990s found Taylor in films such as Blues Brothers 2000, and she opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, but it closed in 1999.