Johnnie Harrison Taylor was a vocalist in a wide variety of genres, from gospel, blues and soul to pop, doo-wop and disco. He was born in Crawford, Arkansas on May 5, 1938 and died May 31, 2000 of a heart attack.
He had one release, "Somewhere to Lay My Head", on Chicago's Chance Records in the 1950s, as part of the doo-wop group Five Echoes. His singing was strikingly close to that of Sam Cooke, and he was hired to take Cooke's place in Cooke's gospel group, the Soul Stirrers in 1957.
A few years later, after Cooke had established his independent SAR Records, Taylor signed on and recorded "Rone Wasn't Built In A Day" in 1962. However, SAR Records quickly became defunct after Cooke's death in 1964.
In 1966, Taylor moved to Stax Records in Memphis, who dubbed him "The Philosopher of Soul." He went on to become their best-selling artist (outselling such names as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave). His hits included "I Had a Dream" and "I've Got to Love Somebody's Baby" and especially "Who's Making Love", which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Top 40 and No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1968.
As Stax folded with the advent of the 1970s, Taylor switched to Columbia Records and made his most well-known hit, "Disco Lady" in 1975. Columbia tried to promote him as a disco artist and neglected his wide-ranging talent. Not surprisingly, his record sales slipped.
He recorded an album for Beverly Glen Records in 1982, and two more for Malaco Records after that.