Legendary blues belter Koko Taylor, who dominated the blues charts for many years and was nominated for eight Grammys, died in Chicago Wednesday from complications from surgery. She was 80.
A sharecropper’s daughter, the aptly dubbed “Queen of the Blues” was admitted into Northwestern Memorial Hospital roughly two weeks ago for gastrointestinal bleeding, from which she never fully recovered, her publicist at Alligator Records, Marc Lipkin, said in a statement.
During her five-decade career, Taylor recorded such winners as “Wang Dang Doodle,” “What Kind of Man is This” and “I Got What It Takes.” Taylor gained wider attention after signing with the blues label in 1975. She laid down nine albums for Alligator, eight of which were Grammy-nominated. She went on to crush the female blues singer category, winning more W. C. Handy Awards – 25 – than any other artist.
She was in a near-fatal car crash in 1989, but she had rebounded by the 1990s, appearing in films such as "Blues Brothers 2000." She opened a blues club on Division St. in Chicago in 1994, but it closed in 1999.