R Dean Taylor, Singer and Songwriter of ‘Indiana Wants Me’ Fame, Dies


by Best Classic Bands Staff

R. Dean Taylor, a Canadian singer and songwriter who earned his biggest hit for his 1970 recording, “Indiana Wants Me,” for Motown’s Rare Earth label, died on Friday, January 7, 2022. In the days that followed, there had been numerous posts on social media referring to his death, but no confirmation. Today (January 13), Best Classic Bands learned from veteran music journalist Larry LeBlanc that Janee, Taylor’s wife of 52 years, has confirmed his death. The report said Taylor was briefly hospitalized a year ago with Covid-19, but has since been living in hospice care. Taylor was 82 years old.

Born Richard Dean Taylor on May 11, 1939, he first performed in outdoor country and western shows in Toronto, where he grew up. After making several recordings, he auditioned for Motown, where he was signed as a songwriter. He soon began collaborating with the label’s famed Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team and recorded their “There’s a Ghost in My House”.

At the end of the 60s, taylor became part of the Motown collective known as The Clan which teamed up to write and produce songs, including two hits for The Supremes, “Love Child” (a No. 1 single in 1968) and “I’ m Living in Shame” (#8 in 1969).

In 1970 Taylor was assigned as a recording artist to Motown’s Rare Earth Records label. “Indiana Wants Me”, which he wrote, produced and sang, became a major hit, peaking at No. 5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and reached No. 1 on Checkout and #2 on World record, second only to The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You” in November. The single also reached number two in the UK.

The song tells the story of a man who murdered someone who insulted his friend, presumably his girlfriend.

If a man needed to die, he did
Nobody had the right to say what he said
About you

He hides from the police, who eventually catch up with him. Motown Historian Adam White’s Remarks that the song became the label’s first recording by a white artist to reach the top spot.

Taylor wrote songs for several other Motown artists, including the Four Tops, the Temptations, and television actor Paul Petersen (“A Little Bit For Sandy”). Although he returned to the US charts several times, his only significant follow-up was a 1974 UK re-release of his terrific 1966 recording, “There’s a Ghost in My House”, which he co-coordinated. -written with Holland-Dozier. -Holland.

An undated entry on his website says Taylor built a recording studio in his Los Angeles home and was working on a new CD and writing a book about his Motown memories.

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