b. Richard Dean Taylor, 11th May 1939, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
d. 7th January 2022, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
R. Dean Taylor was one of a small group of White singers and songwriters, who achieved success, during the late Sixties and early Seventies, at the Tamla Motown imprint.
He is best remembered for the singles ‘Indiana Wants Me’, Gotta See Jane’, and ‘There’s A Ghost In My House’, which were hugely successful during this era.
Born in Toronto in 1939, Richard’s career began in his hometown, when he played in several groups, as a pianist and singer, circa 1961.
In 1960 and 1961, he made his first recordings for the Audio Master 1, Barry and Mala imprints.
at the high school dance b/w how wrong can you be? - audio master and barry 45's - 1960/1961
With Audio Master 1, he recorded ‘At The High School Dance’ b/w ‘How Wrong Can You Be?’ in 1960.
A year later, he re-released the single, but this time for the Barry imprint.
1962 saw a follow up 45 entitled ‘I’ll Remember’ b/w ‘’It’s A Long Way To St. Louis’, which was released on Mala Records, also seeing a release on the Barry imprint for the Canadian market at the same time.
The single reached number 23 on a local Toronto based radio station,, was followed by another Barry 45, entitled ‘We Fell In Love As We Tangoed’ b/w ‘Beautiful Dreamer’, after which Richard decided to relocate to Detroit, Michigan to improve on his success.
Following the Detroit move in 1964, Richard was hired by Motown Records, mainly as a songwriter and recording artist for the Motown subsidiary V.I.P. label.
He had penned a debut 45 topical release, entitled ‘My Ladybug (Stay Away From That Beatle)’, however, the song remains unissued.
let's go somewhere b/w poor girl - 1965
His first official V.I.P. release came in 1965, with the single ‘Let’s Go Somewhere’ b/w ‘Poor Girl’.
The song was penned by Richard and Brian Holland, with production chores provided by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier.
‘Let’s Go Somewhere’ was mildly successful, however, his 1966 follow up, ‘There's A Ghost In My House’ received much greater interest.
l to r: brian holland, lamont dozier, r dean taylor and don gooch
The track was also penned by Holland–Dozier–Holland and Richard, and was also produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier.
‘There's A Ghost In My House’ was later to reach number 3 in the United Kingdom charts in 1974.
His next V.I.P 45 was also a hit later down the line, entitled ‘Gotta See Jane’ b/w ‘Don’t Fool Around’, this track helped cement his reputation as a songwriter, which led to several of his songs being recorded by other Motown acts.
‘Gotta See Jane’ b/w ‘Back Street’, (the a-side co-written with Brian Holland), became a Top 20 hit in the U.K. following it’s re-release on the Rare Earth imprint in 1971.
By this time Richard had become a member of the Motown writing and production team known as ‘The Clan’.
the clan: l to r: pam sawyer, frank wilson, deke richards and r dean taylor
pam sawyer image: Copyright 1972 - Steve Armitage (thanks Steve)
The Clan comprised of Pam Sawyer, Frank Wilson, Deke Ricahrds and R. Dean Taylor.
Whilst the Corporation were penning hits for the Jackson 5, the Clan took over the generation of material for Diana Ross & the Supremes (following the departure of the Holland/Dozier/Holland team who left to set up Invictus Records).
The Clan penned Diana Ross & the Supremes' number 1 U.S. hit ‘Love Child’ and their number 10 follow-up ‘I’m Livin' In Shame’.
i think, therefore i am - 1970 / indiana wants me - 1971
Richard realised his biggest solo successes post 1970, releasing material on Motown’s subsidiary Rare Earth Records (a label dedicated to Motown’s growing roster of White performers).
‘Indiana Wants Me’ b/w ‘Love’s Your Name’, became a number 1 hit in 1970 in Canada.
In the States, the song reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and at number 2 in the U.K.
‘Gotta See Jane’ was also reissued in 1971, and became a Top 10 success in Canada.
His follow up 1972 single ‘Taos, New Mexico’ b/w ‘Shadow’ did less well.
l.a. sunset - 1975 / we'll show them all b/w magdalena - 1976
Richard continued to write for artists at Rare Earth, until the label folded in 1976.
He released one 45 for the Farr imprint in 1976, entitled ‘We’ll Show Them All’ b/w ‘Magdalena’, however, Richard was not to chart again as a solo artist.
During the Eighties, he recorded some sides for the 20th Century and Strummer imprints.
let's talk it over b/w add up the score - 1981 / out in the alley b/w bonnie - 1982
These included ‘Let's Talk It Over’ b/w ‘Add Up The Score’ (in 1981) and ‘Out In The Alley’ b/w ‘Bonnie’ (in 1982).
In recent years, Richard has established his own record company, called Jane Records.
‘Indiana Wants Me’ was featured in the 1980 American movie, ‘The Ninth Configuration’.
Richard died at home in 2022, from Covid-19, at the age of 82.
I Think Therefore I Am (Rare Earth Records 1970)
Indiana Wants Me (Tamla Motown Records 1971)
L.A. Sunset (Polydor Records 1975)