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BOBBY TAYLOR,
1936-2017

Bobby Taylor only had one Top 40 pop single for Motown but his effect on the label and pop music is immeasurable. Taylor, who died Saturday at the age of 83, brought the Jackson 5 to Berry Gordy's Detroit label.

A producer as well as a singer, he died in Hong Kong where he has been living for several years and had been undergoing treatment for leukemia and tumors in his spine, according to Rolling Stone.

Early on, Motown credited Diana Ross with discovering the family act, but Taylor was the one who saw them perform at Chicago's Regal Theatre in 1968. The J5 started opening shows for Taylor and The Vancouvers, who hit #29 on the pop chart with “Does Your Mama Know About Me.”

Taylor produced the Jackson 5's debut Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 and was among the producers of ABC, Michael Jackson’s Ben, David and Jimmy Ruffin’s I Am My Brother’s Keeper. He also was part of the Motown songwriting teams of the late 1960s and early ‘70s.

Gordy replaced Taylor with his production group The Corporation to give the quintet a younger sound. Taylor was attempting to shape the J5 as a classic soul group.

A native of Washington, D.C., whose band included the comedian Tommy Chong as a guitarist, recorded only two albums for Motown. He issued two records on his own in the early 2000s.

 

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