R. Dean Taylor

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R. Dean Taylor
R Dean Taylor.jpeg
Background information
Birth nameRichard Dean Taylor
Born(1939-05-11)May 11, 1939
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedJanuary 7, 2022(2022-01-07) (aged 82)
Los Angeles[1]
GenresPop, rockabilly, soul
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, record producer, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals
Years active1961–1980s
LabelsRare Earth/Motown Records
Websitehttp://www.rdeantaylor.com

Richard Dean Taylor (May 11, 1939 – January 7, 2022) was a Canadian musician, most notable as a singer, songwriter, and record producer for Motown during the 1960s and 1970s.[2] According to Jason Ankeny, Taylor was "one of the most underrated acts ever to record under the Motown aegis."[3]

As a singer, American audiences know Taylor best for his chart-topping 1970 hit "Indiana Wants Me",[4] which hit No. 1 in Cash Box in the United States and was also No. 2 in Canada and No. 2 in the UK. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. He became well known in the United Kingdom for other hits, including "Gotta See Jane" and "There's a Ghost in My House".

Life and career[edit]

Taylor was born in Toronto, Ontario, on May 11, 1939.[3] He began his career in 1961, as a pianist and singer with several country music bands in Toronto.[5] Taylor also made his first recordings in 1961, for the Audiomaster record label. The next year, Taylor's "At The High School Dance", a single for Amy-Mala Records, was a minor success. His next single, "I'll Remember", on the Barry label, was a No. 23 success for Toronto rock and roll radio station CHUM, and the singer decided to relocate to Detroit, Michigan, to further his career.

In Detroit, Taylor auditioned for, and was hired by,[5] Motown in 1964 as a songwriter and recording artist for the subsidiary V.I.P. label. Taylor's scheduled first single (March 1964) for V.I.P. was the topical satire "My Ladybug (Stay Away From That Beatle)", but it was deemed too weak for release and was never issued.

It was not until November 1965 that Taylor's debut V.I.P. single, "Let's Go Somewhere", was issued. It was written by Taylor in conjunction with Brian Holland, and produced by the team of Holland and Lamont Dozier, who had already produced five No. 1 scoring songs for The Supremes. However, the song was only a regional success in several U.S. cities and Toronto.

Taylor's next single (1967's "There's A Ghost In My House") was written by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland along with Taylor, and again produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. It was also a commercial disappointment in the US – but it was a No. 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1974. Taylor was also beginning to become a songwriter for other acts, as "I'll Turn to Stone" by the Four Tops, and "All I Need" by The Temptations were both charting US singles in 1967, co-composed by him. In 1968, Taylor's self-produced single "Gotta See Jane", co-written with Brian Holland, became a Top 20 hit in the UK.[6]

After Holland, Dozier and Holland left Motown, more success for Taylor came as a member of the Motown writing and production team known as "The Clan", together with Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer and Deke Richards. This production group was briefly the prime creator of material for Diana Ross & the Supremes after the Holland-Dozier-Holland team left Motown. Among Taylor's successful co-compositions and co-productions during 1968 and 1969 as a member of The Clan were Diana Ross & the Supremes' No. 1 US hit "Love Child" and their Top 10 follow-up hit "I'm Livin' In Shame".

Taylor resumed his recording career in 1970, becoming one of the first artists assigned to Motown's new subsidiary Rare Earth, which was dedicated to white artists. In that year his first Rare Earth single, "Indiana Wants Me", became a No. 2 hit in his native Canada and No. 1 in Cash Box magazine in the US, the first Motown record by a white performer to reach that position.[5] The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and at No. 2 in the UK. Later it was featured in the opening minutes of the 1980 American movie The Ninth Configuration.

"Gotta See Jane" was also reissued in 1971, and became a success in Canada at number 12. His 1972 single "Taos New Mexico" did not do well on the Canadian charts, reaching number 48. He continued recording for Rare Earth, and working as a writer-producer for other artists until Rare Earth was ended in 1976. Though he never again scored the charts as he had done with "Indiana Wants Me", his releases did moderately well,[vague] especially in Canada. As a Canadian citizen, he could be played on CKLW and other Canadian radio stations and counted towards the stations' Canadian content quotas.[citation needed]

Taylor attempted a comeback during the early 1980s, after which he had a hiatus from the music industry. He also established his own record company, Jane Records, in 1973.[citation needed] He built a recording studio at his home in Los Angeles, and worked on an unpublished memoir of his time at Motown.[5]

Taylor died at home on January 7, 2022, at the age of 82. He had been ill since contracting COVID-19 the previous year. At the time of his death he had been married for 52 years to his wife Janee.[5]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • 1970: I Think, Therefore I Am (Rare Earth) – CAN No. 50,[7] US No. 198[8]
  • 1973: Indiana Wants Me (Sounds Superb) (UK-only compilation)
  • 1975: LA Sunset (Polydor)
  • 2001: The Essential Collection (Spectrum)

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions
CAN
[9]
CAN (AC)
[10]
AUS
[11]
GER
[12]
IRE
[13]
NL
[14]
NZ
[15]
SA
[16]
UK
[17]
US
[18][19]
US AC
[20]
"At the High School Dance" (as R. Dean Taylor & His Combo) 1960
"I'll Remember" 1962 23
[21]
"We Fell in Love as We Tangoed"
"Let's Go Somewhere" 1965 39
[22]
"There's a Ghost in My House" 1967
"Gotta See Jane" 1968 32 17
"Indiana Wants Me" 1970 2 6 30 8 11 3 2 5
"Ain't It a Sad Thing" 1971 35 23 66
"Gotta See Jane" (re-recording) 12 89 67
"Two of Us" (New Zealand-only release)
"Candy Apple Red" 69 104
"Taos New Mexico" / "Shadow" 1972 48
75

43
98 22 83 28
"Sweet Flowers" 1973
"Indiana Wants Me" (US-only re-release)
"Who Will Wipe My Tears Away" 1974
"There's a Ghost in My House" (re-release) 29 3
"Don't Fool Around" (UK and Netherlands-only release)
"Window Shopping" (UK and Europe-only release) 35 36
"Gotta See Jane" (UK and Ireand-only re-release) 41
"Walkin' in the Sun" 1975
"Let's Talk It Over" 90
"We'll Show Them All" 1976 77
"Bonnie"
"Closer My Love"
"I'll Name the Baby After You" 1979
"Let's Talk It Over" (new version) 1981
"Out in the Alley" (US-only release) 1982
"There's a Ghost in My House" (UK-only limited re-release) 2004
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Songwriting credits[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jennings, Nicholas (21 January 2022). "Toronto-born singer-songwriter R. Dean Taylor became a surprise Motown star". Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  2. ^ Nick Krewen, "Motown songwriter, Toronto’s R. Dean Taylor dies at age 82". Toronto Star, January 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Jason Ankeny. "R. Dean Taylor | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Top 50 Canadian Chart". RPM Magazine, Canadian Content, – Volume 13, No. 23, 25 July 1970
  5. ^ a b c d e "R Dean Taylor, Singer and Songwriter of ‘Indiana Wants Me’ Fame, Dies", Best Classic Bands, January 13, 2022. Retrieved January 14, 2022
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 550. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums – February 13, 1971" (PDF). Collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  8. ^ "R. Dean Taylor (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  9. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly". Bac-lac.gc.ca. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  10. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly". Bac-lac.gc.ca. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  11. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  12. ^ "Suche - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  14. ^ "R. Dean Taylor". Top40.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  15. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  16. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (T)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  17. ^ "R. DEAN TAYLOR | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  18. ^ "R. Dean Taylor (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  19. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1982). Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Hot 100 1959–1981. Record Research. p. 164. ISBN 9780898200478.
  20. ^ "R. Dean Taylor (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  21. ^ "CHUM Top 50 Singles - June 11, 1962".
  22. ^ "CHUM Top 50 Singles - February 7, 1966".
  23. ^ "R. Dean Taylor | Songs". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 January 2014.

External links[edit]