The maroon velvet sequined jacket which once belonged to rhythm and blues singer Johnnie Taylor is now on exhibit at the Delta Cultural Center (DCC).
The maroon velvet sequined jacket which once belonged to rhythm and blues singer Johnnie Taylor is now on exhibit at the Delta Cultural Center (DCC). It will be on display through Saturday, August 31. Open to the public and free of charge, the Center is located at 141 Cherry Street in historic downtown Helena. Hours of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other items from the collection of this Delta born musical sensation are also displayed alongside his jacket. These include the sheet music for his 1976 hit, “Disco Lady,” the first single ever to be certified platinum. There is also a 1966 poster promoting one of Taylor’s concerts. It bills him as “The Fabulous Johnnie Taylor.” And tickets to his 1983 New Year’s Eve concert at Club Paradise in Memphis, Tenn., are included in this exhibition. Taylor was on the “A” list of entertainers during his day. The smash hit, “Disco Lady,” was the first single ever to be certified platinum.
Born in Crawfordsville, Ark., on May 5, 1934, Johnnie Harrison Taylor was a three-time Grammy-nominated recording artist and songwriter who performed a wide variety of genres, from blues, rhythm and blues, soul, and gospel to pop, doo-wop, and disco. Known as the "Philosopher of Soul," Taylor was a popular gospel and R&B singer with a recording career spanning forty-six years. Raised by his grandmother in West Memphis, Ark., she made sure he attended church regularly. Inspired by both gospel and blues, Taylor made his church singing debut at age six.
His hits included "I Had a Dream," "I've Got to Love Somebody's Baby," and most notably his 1968 hit, "Who's Making Love." "Who's Making Love" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In 1999, Taylor was awarded a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame.
While living in Duncanville, Tex., a suburb of Dallas, Taylor suffered a heart attack, and on May 31, 2000, at the age of 66, he died at Charlton Methodist Hospital in Dallas. He is buried next to his mother at Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City, Mo.
For more information, contact Rachel Widmer, DCC registrar and staff curator of the Artifact of the Month, at 870.338.4350. Visit the DCC at www.Facebook.com/DeltaCulturalCenter, or www.deltaculturalcenter.com.