Motown "Indiana Wants Me" star R. Dean Taylor reportedly dies at age 82

(January 10, 2022) He was white Canadian, and his music mostly alternated between pop and rockabilly. So R. Dean Taylor was an unlikely Motown star, but that he was, contributing to the label for more than a decade and hitting the top of the charts as a solo artist with “Indiana Wants Me.” Tributes have been pouring in on social media, announcing the passing of Mr. Taylor at age 82.

The Toronto-born Taylor had some regional success as a pop artist, but Berry Gordy Jr. saw his songwriting talent and, in a plan to expand the musical footprint of Motown, signed Taylor to Motown’s V.I.P. label, and later its Rare Earth imprint.

(January 10, 2022) He was white Canadian, and his music mostly alternated between pop and rockabilly. So R. Dean Taylor was an unlikely Motown star, but that he was, contributing to the label for more than a decade and hitting the top of the charts as a solo artist with “Indiana Wants Me.” Tributes have been pouring in on social media, announcing the passing of Mr. Taylor at age 82.

The Toronto-born Taylor had some regional success as a pop artist, but Berry Gordy Jr. saw his songwriting talent and, in a plan to expand the musical footprint of Motown, signed Taylor to Motown’s V.I.P. label, and later its Rare Earth imprint.

Taylor the singer worked with Holland-Dozier-Holland during the late 60s, but had trouble breaking out as an artist. He had more success as a songwriter, landing hits for the Four Tops (“I’ll Turn To Stone”) and The Temptations (“All I Need”). And he took an even larger songwriting role at the label after H-D-H left to form their Invictus imprint, writing for multiple Motown stars and scoring a #1 hit with the Supremes on “Love Child.”

Taylor’s solo career finally took off in 1970, when his “Indiana Wants Me” became a smash, shooting all the way to #1 on the pop charts. It became his signature song, and helped the follow-up single, “Gotta See Jane,” get some airplay. He also had a European hit with "There's A Ghost In My House."

Taylor left Motown in 1977 and largely fell off the radar of radio by 1980. He moved to Los Angeles, where he continued to write and produce other artists. He also continued to perform occasionally with success in Canada and in the UK for years after his recording peak. While his recoding career had a bit of a "One Hit Wonder" feel to it, R. Dean Taylor's career as a songwriter brought us some iconic songs that are revered by soul music fans to this day. Rest in peace.

By Chris Rizik

Thanks to Gary Van den Bussche of Disco Soul Gold for letting us know

 

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