Some significant artists and songs for this year of Motown…
Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers
Bobby Taylor, born February 18, 1936 in North Carolina, was raised in Washington. As a young man, he moved to New York City and sang in doo-wop groups with singers who later joined successful acts such as Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and Little Anthony & the Imperials.
In 1958 he began his music career as a member of The Four Pharaohs, who released a few locally-selling recordings in the Columbus, Ohio area.
In the early 1960s, Taylor met the Calgary group The Shades, made up of vocalist Tommie Melton, guitarist Tommy Chong, bassist Wes Henderson, pianist Bernie Sneed, drummer Floyd Sneed (later the drummer for Three Dog Night) and Dick Bird.
The word Shades in the group’s name referenced the fact that the band was interracial. Chong (later famous as one-half of comedy duo Cheech and Chong) was Chinese and Scottish-Irish. The other members were black Canadian, white Canadian, and aboriginal. Taylor was of African-American, Puerto Rican, and Native American heritage.
Does your Mama Know about me: Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers/Release/2/27/68 Pop # 29 R&B #5
As a producer and solo artist, Bobby Taylor contributed to several other soul recordings, both inside and outside of Motown. Taylor is most notable for discovering and mentoring The Jackson 5.
Other Great Hits of 1968…
I heard it through the Grapevine: Marvin Gaye/Release/10/30/68 Pop # 1 R&B # 1
Cloud Nine (Grammy Winner): /Release/10/25/68 Pop 6 R&B # 2