Musician who discovered Michael Jackson to speak at public forum, finish song touting togetherness
Bobby Taylor closes his eyes and remembers the night he discovered Michael Jackson.
It was at Chicago’s Regal Theater, July 1968. The Jackson 5 — sharing the bill with Taylor and his group, the Vancouvers — sang only two songs, but that’s all it took.
“Michael was up there singing his heart out, spinning around like James Brown,” Taylor said. “He was probably 8 at the time, but he was fully developed as a professional singer. I’ve never seen anything like him before or since.”
Taylor will recount that story and others in a community conversation about his life and music when ASU’s Project Humanities hosts “An Evening with Bobby Taylor” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the ASU Memorial Union. It coincides with a trip that will allow the 82-year-old Taylor to produce “Humanity,” a musical plea for tolerance, peace, empathy and creativity.
“Humanity” was written and initially performed by the late Dick Wagner — known for collaborations with Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Kiss and Lou Reed.
“We are extremely fortunate and excited to have Mr. Bobby Taylor, a true music icon, celebrate our shared humanity,” said Neal Lester, founding director of ASU’s Project Humanities and Foundation Professor of English. “We are now able to compete the work begun by Dick Wagner.”