#1018: Fading Away by Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers
Born in 1934, Robert Edward Taylor was born and grew up in Washington D.C. From the age of three he began to sing. Taylor told the South China Morning Post in a 2011 interview that he could sing Gregorian chant and still knew it by heart in 2011. His mother was friends with Billie Holiday. The musical connection led the young Bobby Taylor to meet Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Miles Davis, among others, while he was a boy. He graduated from high school at the age of 14. The Ku Klux Klan had weekly meetings on the steps of the Capitol buildings in D.C. This frightened young Bobby Taylor and he enlisted to join the U.S. Army in the Korean War where he thought he’d be safer. Taylor was signed up to be a cook in the Korean War. However, he was assigned to an all-black unit that fought in the war. His commanding officer had told Bobby Taylor, “They’re not going to be able to see you.” At the age of 17 Taylor was discharged by the end of 1951. He relocated to New York City in the early 50s and sang in street corner doo-wop groups. Among the singers he sang with included future members of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and Little Anthony and the Imperials.