It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.

Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.

Please ensure you are using the latest Flash Player.

If you are unable or do not wish to upgrade your Flash Player,
please try a different browser.

Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora Plus subscription will expire shortly.
More Info
No Thanks
Your Pandora Plus trial will expire shortly.
Your Pandora Plus trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
Upgrade Now
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora Plus.
More Info
No Thanks
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
 Upgrade  sign up   |   help   |  
Change Skin

Free personalized radio that
plays the music you love

Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Koko Taylor

Accurately dubbed "the Queen of Chicago blues" (and sometimes just the blues in general), Koko Taylor helped keep the tradition of big-voiced, brassy female blues belters alive, recasting the spirits of early legends like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton, and Memphis Minnie for the modern age. Taylor's rough, raw vocals were perfect for the swaggering new electrified era of the blues, and her massive hit "Wang Dang Doodle" served notice that male dominance in the blues wasn't as exclusive as it seemed. After a productive initial stint on Chess, Taylor spent several decades on the prominent contemporary blues label Alligator, going on to win more W.C. Handy Awards than any other female performer in history, and establishing herself as far and away the greatest female blues singer of her time.

Koko was born Cora Walton on September 28, 1928, on a sharecropper's farm in Memphis, TN. Her mother died in 1939, and she and her siblings grew up helping their father in the fields; she got the nickname "Koko" because of her love of chocolate. Koko began singing gospel music in a local Baptist church; inspired by the music they heard on the radio, she and her siblings also played blues on makeshift instruments. In 1953, Koko married truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor and moved with him to Chicago to look for work; settling on the South Side, Pops worked in a slaughterhouse and Koko got a job as a housemaid. The Taylors often played blues songs together at night, and frequented the bustling South Side blues clubs whenever they could; Pops encouraged Koko to sit in with some of the bands, and her singing -- which reflected not only the classic female blues shouters, but contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf -- quickly made a name for her. In 1962, Taylor met legendary Chess Records songwriter/producer/bassist Willie Dixon, who was so impressed with her live performance that he took her under his wing. He produced her 1963 debut single, "Honky Tonky," for the small USA label, then secured her a recording contract with Chess.

Taylor made her recording debut for Chess in 1964 and hit it big the following year with the Dixon-penned "Wang Dang Doodle," which sold over a million copies and hit number four on the R&B charts. It became her signature song forever after, and it was also the last Chess single to hit the R&B Top Ten. Demand for Taylor's live act skyrocketed, even though none of her follow-ups sold as well, and as the blues audience began to shift from black to white, the relatively new Taylor became one of the first Chicago blues artists to command a following on the city's white-dominated North Side. Eventually, she and her husband were able to quit their day jobs, and he served as her manager; she also put together a backing band called the Blues Machine. With the release of two albums -- 1969's Koko Taylor, which featured a number of her previous singles; and 1972's Basic Soul -- Taylor's live gigs kept branching out further and further from Chicago, and when she played the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, the resulting live album on Atlantic helped bring her to a more national audience.

By the early '70s, Chess Records was floundering financially, and eventually went under in 1975. Taylor signed with a then-young Chicago-based label called Alligator, which grew into one of America's most prominent blues labels over the years. Taylor debuted for Alligator in 1975 with I Got What It Takes, an acclaimed effort that garnered her first Grammy nomination. Her 1978 follow-up, The Earthshaker, featured several tunes that became staples of her live show, including "I'm a Woman" and "Hey Bartender," and her popularity on the blues circuit just kept growing in spite of the music's commercial decline. In 1980, she won the first of an incredible string of W.C. Handy Awards (for Best Contemporary Female Artist), and over the next two decades, she would capture at least one more almost every year (save for 1989, 1997, and 1998). 1981 brought From the Heart of a Woman, and in 1984, Taylor won her first Grammy thanks to her appearance on Atlantic's various-artists compilation Blues Explosion, which was named Best Traditional Blues Album. She followed that success with the guest-laden Queen of the Blues in 1985, which won her a couple extra Handy Awards for Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year (no "female" qualifier attached). In 1987, she released her first domestic live album, Live in Chicago: An Audience With the Queen.

Tragedy struck in 1988. Taylor broke her shoulder, collarbone, and several ribs in a van accident while on tour, and her husband went into cardiac arrest; although Pops survived for the time being, his health was never the same, and he passed away some months later. After recuperating, Taylor made a comeback at the annual Chicago Blues Festival, and in 1990 she issued Jump for Joy, as well as making a cameo appearance in the typically bizarre David Lynch film Wild at Heart. Taylor followed it in 1993 with the aptly titled Force of Nature, after which she took a seven-year hiatus from recording; during that time, she remarried and continued to tour extensively, maintaining the stature she'd achieved with her '80s work as the living Queen of the Blues. In 2000, she finally returned with a new album, Royal Blue, which featured a plethora of guest stars: B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnnie Johnson, and Keb' Mo'. Health issues forced another seven-year hiatus before she returned with the album Old School in 2007. Koko Taylor died in Chicago in June 2009 after experiencing complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Old School

1. Piece Of Man

2. Gonna Buy Me A Mule

3. Black Rat

4. Money Is The Name Of The Game

5. You Ain't Worth A Good Woman

6. Better Watch Your Step

7. Bad Avenue

8. Bad Rooster

9. Don't Go No Further

10. All Your Love

11. Hard Pill To Swallow

12. Young Fashioned Ways


Track List: Deluxe Edition

1. I'm A Woman

2. Beer Bottle Boogie

3. Born Under A Bad Sign

4. Mother Nature

5. Hey Bartender

6. I'd Rather Go Blind

7. Man Size Job

8. Let The Good Times Roll

9. Voodoo Woman

10. Wang Dang Doodle

11. Stop Watching Your Enemies

12. Sure Had A Wonderful Time Last Night

13. Come To Mama

14. Time Will Tell

15. Blues Hotel


Track List: Royal Blue

1. Save Your Breath

2. Hittin' On Me

3. Bring Me Some Water

4. But On The Other Hand

5. Don't Let Me Catch You (With Your Drawers Down)

6. Blues Hotel

7. Fuel To Burn

8. The Man Next Door

9. Old Woman

10. Ernestine

11. Keep Your Booty Out Of My Bed

12. Keep Your Mouth Shut And Your Eyes Open


Track List: Force Of Nature

1. Mother Nature

2. If I Can't Be First

3. Hound Dog

4. Born Under A Bad Sign

5. Let The Juke Joint Jump

6. 63 Year Old Mama

7. Don't Put Your Hands On Me

8. Bad Case Of Loving You

9. Fish In Dirty Water

10. Tit For Tat

11. Put The Pot On

12. Nothing Takes The Place Of You

13. Spellbound

14. Greedy Man


Track List: Jump For Joy

1. Can't Let Go

2. Stop Watching Your Enemies

3. Hey Baby

4. Tired Of That

5. It's A Dirty Job

6. Jump For Joy

7. Time Will Tell

8. Eyes Don't Lie

9. Fishing Trip

10. I Don't Want No Leftovers


Track List: Live From Chicago--An Audience With The Queen

1. Let The Good Times Roll (Live)

2. I'm A Woman (Live)

3. Going Back To Iuka (Live)

4. The Devil's Gonna Have A Field Day (Live)

5. Find A Fool, Bump Her Head (Live)

6. I Cried Like A Baby (Live)

7. Come To Mama (Live)

8. I'd Rather Go Blind (Live)

9. Let Me Love You (Live)

10. Wang Dang Doodle (Live)


Track List: Queen Of The Blues

1. Evil

2. Beer Bottle Boogie

3. I Cried Like A Baby

4. I Can Love You Like A Woman (Or I Can Fight You Like A Man)

5. Flamin' Mamie

6. Something Inside Me

7. The Hunter

8. Queen Bee

9. I Don't Care No More

10. Come To Mama


Track List: From The Heart Of A Woman

1. Something Strange Is Going On

2. I'd Rather Go Blind

3. Keep Your Hands Off Him

4. Thanks But No Thanks

5. If You Got A Heartache

6. Never Trust A Man

7. Sure Had A Wonderful Time Last Night

8. Blow Top Blues

9. If Walls Could Talk

10. Took A Long Time


Track List: The Earthshaker

1. Let The Good Times Roll

2. Spoonful

3. Walking The Back Streets

4. Cut You Loose

5. Hey Bartender

6. I'm A Woman

7. You Can Have My Husband

8. Please Don't Dog Me

9. Wang Dang Doodle


Track List: What It Takes: The Chess Years (Expanded Edition)

2. Don't Mess With The Messer

3. Whatever I Am, You Made Me

4. I'm A Little Mixed Up

5. Wang Dang Doodle

6. (I Got) All You Need

7. Just Love Me

8. What Came First The Egg Or The Hen

9. Insane Asylum (Feat. Willie Dixon)

10. Fire

11. I Don't Care Who Knows

12. Twenty-Nine Ways (To My Baby's Door)

13. Blue Prelude

14. I Need More And More

15. Um Huh My Baby

16. Bills, Bills And More Bills

17. Let Me Love You Baby

19. What Kind Of Man Is That?

20. Blues Heaven

21. Tell Me The Truth

22. Good Advice

23. Separate Or Integrate

24. Tease Your Man


Track List: What It Takes: The Chess Years

1. I Got What It Takes (Single Version)

2. Don't Mess With The Messer

3. Whatever I Am, You Made Me

4. I'm A Little Mixed Up

5. Wang Dang Doodle (Single Version)

6. (I Got) All You Need (Single Version)

7. Love Me (Single Version)

8. What Came First The Egg Or The Hen (Single Version)

9. Insane Asylum (Feat. Willie Dixon) (Single Version)

10. Fire (Single Version)

11. I Don't Care Who Knows (Single Version)

12. Twenty-Nine Ways (To My Baby's Door)

13. Blue Prelude

14. I Need More And More

15. Um Huh My Baby

16. Bills, Bills And More Bills

17. Let Me Love You Baby

18. I Got What It Takes (Feat. Muddy Waters) (Live 1972 Montreaux Jazz Festival)


Track List: I Got What It Takes

1. Trying To Make A Living

2. I Got What It Takes

3. Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean

4. Voodoo Woman

5. Be What You Want To Be

6. Honkey Tonkey

7. Big Boss Man

8. Blues Never Die

9. Find A Fool

10. Happy Home

11. That's Why I'm Crying


Track List: Koko Taylor

1. Love You Like A Woman

2. I Love A Lover Like You

3. Don't Mess With The Messer

4. I Don't Care Who Knows (Single Version)

5. Wang Dang Doodle (Single Version)

6. I'm A Little Mixed Up

7. Nitty Gritty

8. Fire (Single Version)

9. Whatever I Am, You Made Me

10. Twenty-Nine Ways (To My Baby's Door)

11. Insane Asylum (Feat. Willie Dixon) (Single Version)

12. Yes, It's Good For You

13. Love Sick Tears

14. He Always Knocks Me Out


Track List: The Best Of Koko Taylor

1. Wang Dang Doodle

2. Ernestine

3. Born Under A Bad Sign (Feat. Buddy Guy)

4. You Can Have My Husband

5. I'm A Woman

6. You Ain't Worth A Good Woman

7. I'm Getting 'Long Alright Fka I Cried Like A Baby

8. Bring Me Some Water (Feat. Kenny Wayne)

9. Evil (Feat. James Cotton)

10. I'd Rather Go Blind (Live)

11. Gonna Buy Me A Mule

12. The Man Next Door (Feat. Keb Mo)

13. Better Watch Your Step

14. I Got What It Takes

15. Can't Let Go

16. That's Why I'm Crying

17. Let The Good Times Roll


Report as inappropriate
Uh, bobonnit, Koko WAS the original
Know your blues before jump in
Report as inappropriate
I'd rather hear the originals
Report as inappropriate
Now that's what I am talking about.....
Report as inappropriate
I can only share the few little facts I hold about the one who is gone , This I heard about Mrs. Koko Taylor . She passed away from cancer , the type of the intestines . I have this unfortunate disease also . Please say life has a chance to change for you . Everybody is working for the reward of Love , Live , Laugh , and here me calling Love . . . .
Report as inappropriate
She's got what it takes oh ya
Report as inappropriate
In the 1980's I was in Washington D. C. and my daughter, then 16, came to visit. We saw Koko in Georgetown (I can't remember the name of the blues club, but it is well known). we approached Koko during a break, something we had never had the nerve to do before. She was amazingly gracious and invited us backstage. She autographed something my daughter had and spent time encouraging her interest in music. I have never had such a generous and gracious encounter. I miss her.
Report as inappropriate
I saw her at a Blues festival and was blown away. Once she grabbed that microphone, it was on. She and the whole band jammed that night. She passed away about 6 months later. I will never forget her or that show. We miss you Koko.
Report as inappropriate
drie_drie200 6
KOKO TAYLOR is and will always be The greatest Female blues singer.. She has soul and her music speaks volumes. She often has a funny way of telling a story through music.
Report as inappropriate
She came to Milwaukee frequently when I lived there & I always made a point to see her wherever she played. What a voice, what a soul. Miss her!
Report as inappropriate
Being an Illinois boy and fortunate enough to work at a great blues club in the 70 sn was able to meet and work with great lady!! She was one of the Down to eath and sucha super talent I was deeply saddened by her passing I will never forget her response when asked how she stayed looking so young. She smiled and said" baby black don't crack "what can ya say.
Report as inappropriate
She the best love hereing her
Report as inappropriate
Hearing her sing has always made my day!
Report as inappropriate
koko was best blues artisit of times I am 64 years old I will be 65 april 17
Report as inappropriate
lov her!!!!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
WOW! LOVE this!!
Report as inappropriate
Talk bout it Ko Ko
Report as inappropriate
MUSIC like this listening make sure u stay close to reality. Sometimes THAT FOUR LETTER YOUR FRIEND MAKE YOU FEEL FEEL BAD
Report as inappropriate
hell yeah
Report as inappropriate
I love this!!!!! My good wine , my blunt my feelings!! ( my oil' man)
Report as inappropriate
lol haha rofl
Report as inappropriate
Yeeeeah....I got what it takes to make a good man deny his name....;-). . . . l o l . . . . M e too Koko....the rocks on my finger is the proof in the puddin
Report as inappropriate
Saw her and parties with her band at Oberlin 86 and changes my galactic view of music and true honest soul
Report as inappropriate
Yeeeeeah I got what it takes to make a bull dog break his chains...... . n o w that's confidence.. . . . . . . . s i n g Koko.
Report as inappropriate
Report as inappropriate
Sing it sista.....i got the blues....
Report as inappropriate
She s really great!
Report as inappropriate
Report as inappropriate
Awsome! And then some
Report as inappropriate
Had the opportunity to sit back stage with her after she and her amazing band ripped it up all night at Lupo's in Providence, RI, back in the 90's!! She was soo sweet and funny, warm and comfortable sitting with us girl's...ama z i n g l y soft spoken lady. I am grateful for that moment.

Report as inappropriate
Damn that woman could belt the blues! RIP KoKo you're still loved!
Report as inappropriate
she's great!
Report as inappropriate
big-voiced, brassy female blues belter
Report as inappropriate
lucky to have heard (seen) her
Report as inappropriate
Heard her for the first time today and I thought I knew. The Blues, what a great voice.
Report as inappropriate
First heard her name from a friend of mine last week, than one of her songs came up on one of my stations. Needless to say, now I'm a fan of hers!!! LONG LIVE KOKO!!
Report as inappropriate
One of the best times I ever had in my life was seeing her live. Love, Love, Love, Koko !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Report as inappropriate
one of the best live performers of all time
Report as inappropriate
I saw in Portland, OR at the river blues fest just before her e is one of my favs!
Report as inappropriate
I saw her at the U of C. I didn't know a thing about her, but her performance bowled me over. I was thinking aloud, Damn! she's good!
Report as inappropriate
THE QUEEN OF COOL.....and the blues! Will always love you Koko, RIP!
Report as inappropriate
I saw Koko at Kingston Mines in Chicago. She was wonderful!
Report as inappropriate
Koko is in deed the Queen of Chicago Blues, there will never be another Koko Taylor in this life time for me. God bless and Rest in Peace Koko
Report as inappropriate
100 years from now, some young kid is going to hear a obsure sound track by someone once known as Koko. He's going to say, "Wow!"
Report as inappropriate
koko is my # 1 artists love her music.
Report as inappropriate
cant believe in 1975 i bought queen of the blues on vinyl at tower records in nyc. penny will do.
Report as inappropriate
RIP Koko, I've loved her music for years now...
Report as inappropriate
Love KOko. A great loss. just discovered her lately.
Report as inappropriate
Report as inappropriate
She lived long, hard and full of blessing! I remember hearing my parent listening to her music when I was about five years old. After they come home from the juke joints, drunk, or just plain pissed off at each other. Some people you'll never forget or how they sound when they've sung great thinking music. Her voice remained the same even as she became older. Now that's an
Artist! She will be missed. God Bless
Report as inappropriate
She left great classics for everyone, her legacy will live on.
Koko Taylor has died, aged 80.

The star, who was known as the Queen of Blues, passed away on Wednesday (03Jun09) at a Chicago, Illinois hospital.

Last month (May09), Taylor underwent surgery for a gastrointest i n a l bleed.

Taylor, born Cora Walton, enjoyed a 50 year career and was best known for her stellar live shows, performing around 100 gigs a year.

She won a Grammy Award in 1985 for her album Queen of the Blues and wa
Show more

Don't have a Pandora account? Sign up

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

It looks like your browser does not support modern SSL/TLS. Please upgrade your browser.

If you need help, please email:

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[81, 104, 95, 97, 72, 96, 117, 64, 114, 89, 98, 97, 99, 111, 79, 76, 96, 110, 103, 114, 97, 82, 93, 92, 109, 121, 91, 84, 101, 92, 120, 91, 106, 79, 92, 123, 111, 116, 82, 92, 110, 121, 93, 94, 94, 110, 88, 102, 113, 91, 91, 100, 89, 91, 102, 112, 75, 115, 81, 93, 106, 112, 88, 110, 113, 110, 101, 119, 116, 69, 122, 117, 104, 109, 113, 82, 91, 98, 101, 72, 119, 104, 74, 109, 73, 100, 83, 106, 106, 72, 78, 100, 126, 114, 89, 118, 109, 78, 78, 103, 71, 75, 123, 89, 82, 73, 85, 98, 64, 75, 80, 106, 91, 120, 82, 92, 104, 76, 96, 123, 123, 126, 107, 98, 116, 87, 91, 92, 105, 86, 111, 75, 83, 82, 124, 74, 77, 74, 76, 126, 88, 80, 91, 92, 109, 96, 104, 92, 80, 113, 89, 66, 70, 114, 104, 70, 105, 71, 121, 103, 123, 81, 65, 95, 75, 75, 92, 67, 75, 81, 70, 112, 90, 106, 79, 74, 104, 101, 75, 118, 80, 104, 64, 72, 126, 126, 77, 78, 78, 88, 81, 66, 68, 82, 125, 119, 87, 74, 94, 78, 108, 89, 80, 109, 75, 88, 122, 113, 116, 101, 88, 118, 120, 107, 125, 94, 113, 112, 107, 122, 111, 113, 106, 74, 125, 74, 87, 93, 118, 84, 109, 85, 65, 83, 101, 73, 107, 82, 75, 103, 81, 78, 122, 104, 95, 102, 71, 116, 95, 109, 73, 103, 71, 110, 88, 64, 74, 67, 68, 75, 127, 83, 113, 108, 67, 66, 72, 113, 122, 79, 126, 100, 73, 119, 125, 117, 95, 69, 103, 85, 98, 108, 117, 76, 71, 110, 124, 69, 80, 71, 81, 91, 88, 94, 64, 98, 114, 119, 78, 69, 72, 122, 120, 88, 72, 76, 70, 84, 88, 91, 97, 100, 69, 97, 70, 94, 113, 99, 125, 123, 84, 108, 72, 91, 76, 111, 86, 79, 109, 77, 99, 117, 99, 73, 111, 127, 115, 85, 94, 95, 90, 72, 65, 111, 103, 114, 120, 80, 101, 69, 98, 112, 99, 79, 108, 81, 85, 94, 110, 94, 102, 76, 67, 68, 74, 123, 115, 77, 119, 85, 111, 119, 93, 121, 80, 77, 76, 106, 67, 125, 123, 83, 102, 113, 118, 115, 124, 97, 71, 83, 103, 90, 92, 72, 121, 78, 125, 117, 88, 72, 72, 74, 79, 84, 97, 112, 102, 80, 65, 111, 70, 111, 88, 110, 103, 94, 107, 77, 81, 115, 116, 126, 69, 120, 107, 97, 124, 109, 85, 80, 119, 72, 88, 119, 125, 95, 91, 89, 106, 127, 104, 117, 108, 83, 80, 67, 84, 107, 115, 116, 124, 103, 97, 127, 123, 101, 97, 72, 103, 105, 124, 127, 71, 95, 75, 89, 108, 115, 74, 104, 104, 107, 83, 126, 108, 66, 121, 81, 115, 103, 92, 69, 78, 81, 67, 96, 86, 72, 108, 100, 69, 65, 103, 104, 101, 97, 83, 102, 65, 117, 86, 82, 95, 68, 87, 71, 123, 125, 83, 65, 105, 109]