Koko Taylor, "Queen of the Blues," Dies at 80

Koko Taylor, 'Queen of the Blues,' Dies at 80
Music has suffered another tragic loss. Best known as the "Queen of the Blues," singer Koko Taylor died in Chicago today (June 3) at the age of 80.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Taylor (born Cora Walton) had passed away earlier this afternoon due to complications from surgery for a gastrointestinal bleed. The news was passed along via Taylor's long-time record label Alligator Records.

Taylor's passing brings to close one of the blues' most admired and storied careers. Moving from Memphis to Chicago in 1952, the budding crooner began applying her trade in local clubs, garnering a recording contract with legendary outfit Chess Records in 1962. Her first hit came in 1965 with the Willie Dixon tune "Wang Dang Doodle." Taylor moved to Alligator in 1975, releasing nine more albums over the years, her last being 2007's Old School.

On top of those achievements, Taylor was graced with 29 Blues Music Awards, more than any other artist, and 25 W.C. Handy Awards in her time. She was also nominated eight times for Grammy Awards, winning once, in 1984. She has shared the stage with other musical luminaries including Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and many more.