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Koko Taylor

kokotaylorKoko Taylor – so named because of her lifelong fondness for chocolate – was born in 1928 and earned the title “Queen of the Blues” after cutting her teeth on Chicago’s club scene in the early 1950s.

She had moved there from Tennessee with future husband Robert ‘Pops’ Taylor, armed – in Koko’s words – with just “35 cents and a box of Ritz crackers”.

Chess signed her up in the 60s, and it was with that label that she recorded the million-selling hit Wang Dang Doodle (1966).

It was a song that showcased her raw blues shout, taking her cue from Big Mama Thornton and Memphis Minnie.

An unstinting live performer, she clocked up over 200 gigs a year up until 2003, sharing stages with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and BB King, as well as newer disciples Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

She was also nominated for seven Grammys. Taylor passed away in August 2009.