Koko Taylor remembered in Chicago

June 11, 2009 9:09:41 PM PDT
Hundreds of mourners paid tribute at a music-filled wake for Koko Taylor, the "Queen of the Blues." The woman known as the "Queen of the Blues" passed away last week at the age of 80.

Taylor was born with the name Kora Walton 80 years ago in Tennessee. She was born to parents who were sharecroppers, and she developed the nickname Koko because of her love of hot chocolate. From humble beginnings, Taylor rose to become the "Queen of the Blues" in Chicago.

Music filled the Rainbow/PUSH coalition headquarters on Chicago's South Side where the visitation was held.

Large crowds came through on Thursday afternoon. Mayor Daley was among those who visited. He remembered Koko Taylor for her kindness and called the memorial a celebration of Taylor's life.

Taylor worked as a housekeeper before being discovered by legendary blues man Willie Dixon. She recorded "Wang, Dang Doodle," her biggest hit which launched her music career.

"Much of her soul came from her suffering, the fact that she did wash the dishes, she did mop the floor, she did suck up humiliation, and yet, she never got bitter, she always got better and she sang the blues and lived the good news, so that's why there's the joy," said Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The visitation continues on Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tributes were expected from a number of musicians who are in town for the Blues festival, including Denise Williams and Otis Clay.

Funeral services will take place on Friday evening.


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