Richard Dean Taylor was a renowned Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who worked with Motown in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite being “one of the most underrated acts ever to record under the Motown aegis,” according to Jason Ankeny, Taylor was known for his chart-topping 1970 hit “Indiana Wants Me,” which hit No. 1 in Cashbox in the United States, was No. 2 in Canada and the UK, and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Early Life and Career

Born on May 11, 1939, in Toronto, Ontario, Taylor began his career in 1961 as a pianist and singer with several country music bands in Toronto. He made his first recordings in 1961 for the Audiomaster record label. The following year, Taylor’s “At The High School Dance,” a single for Amy-Mala Records, became a minor success. His next single, “I’ll Remember,” on the Barry label, was a No. 23 success for Toronto rock and roll radio station CHUM, and the singer decided to relocate to Detroit, Michigan, to further his career.

Motown Career

In Detroit, Taylor auditioned for, and was hired by, Motown in 1964 as a songwriter and recording artist for the subsidiary V.I.P. label. Taylor’s scheduled first single for V.I.P. was the topical satire “My Ladybug (Stay Away From That Beatle)” in March 1964, but it was deemed too weak for release and was never issued.

It was not until November 1965 that Taylor’s debut V.I.P. single, “Let’s Go Somewhere,” was issued. Written by Taylor in conjunction with Brian Holland and produced by the team of Holland and Lamont Dozier, who had already produced five No. 1 scoring songs for The Supremes, the song was only a regional success in several U.S. cities and Toronto.

Taylor’s next single, “There’s A Ghost In My House,” written by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland along with Taylor and again produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, was also a commercial disappointment in the US. However, it was a No. 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1974. Taylor was also beginning to become a songwriter for other acts, as “I’ll Turn to Stone” by the Four Tops and “All I Need” by The Temptations were both charting US singles in 1967, co-composed by him.

In 1968, Taylor’s self-produced single “Gotta See Jane,” co-written with Brian Holland, became a Top 20 hit in the UK. After Holland, Dozier, and Holland left Motown, more success for Taylor came as a member of the Motown writing and production team known as “The Clan,” together with Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, and Deke Richards. This production group was briefly the prime creator of material for Diana Ross & the Supremes after the Holland-Dozier-Holland team left Motown. Among Taylor’s successful co-compositions and co-productions during 1968 and 1969 as a member of The Clan were Diana Ross & the Supremes’ No. 1 US hit “Love Child” and their Top 10 follow-up hit “I’m Livin’ In Shame.”