Classics: Johnnie Taylor – What About My Love (Beverly Glen Music)
“What about my love? Seem you have forgotten love. I do believe that something went wrong, somewhere. What about my feelings? Or they mean anything at all? You got me so in love, I’m too blind to see. Now that you’ve got my love, now you wanna put me down. Now that you’ve got my love, you won’t even come around…”
Unless havin’ spent the last 35 years or so in a desert island, you’ve probably heard once these string lines. Either from the Shapeshifters who sampled ‘What About My Love’ in 2003. Or from Damaris who covered it in the early 80’s. Not to mention Johnnie Taylor who released its original version back in 1981.
The opening cut to the man’s 1982 ‘Just Ain’t Good Enough’ album… And what a timeless piece of art we have here at the end. With stellar horn and string arrangements courtesy of Gene Page. But also an outstanding performance by the likes of Taylor. Himself in a vein somehow reminding of Lamont Dozier.
Billed by Stax Records as “The Philosopher of Soul”, AK native Johnnie Taylor had an instantly recognizable voice. A voice that allowed him to express himself in many different genres. From Blues to Soul Gospel, Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop. When not Disco eventually.
Taylor first appeared in the mid-50’s as a member of The Highway QC’s. A Gospel group which he soon after left to replace Sam Cooke as the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers. He then started his solo career by the beginning of the 60’s, first on Sam Cook‘s label SAR Records prior to be signing a record deal with Stax.
On the heels of the label bankrupcy, he then signed with Columbia Records. Thus scoring his biggest hit back in 1976 with ‘Disco Lady’. A track which happened to be the first single ever to be awarded with a platinum record Stateside for selling 2 million copies…
One also remembers him for the seminal ‘What About My Love’. A track which saw the light in 1981, with strings arrangements courtesy of Gene Page. Damaris (Carbaugh) eventually covered it 2 years later. Meanwhile UK outfit The Shapeshifters sampled it back in 2003 on their memorable ‘Lola’s Theme’.
Taylor who counts 31 album releases to his credit, also made some noise as a radio personality. Eventually makin’ his niche in the 80’s as a DJ on KKDA-AM, a radio station in the Dallas area. Playin’ mostly R&B and Soul oldies, he got be billed “The Wailer, Johnnie Taylor”.
Johnnie Taylor sadly died of a heart attack at Charlton Methodist Hospital in Dallas, TX, on May 31, 2000. He was 66.