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B.E. Taylor

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A Pittsburgh Tradition - The B.E. Taylor Christmas Show

B.E. Taylor is known for his work as a singer, songwriter, recording artist, band leader, music director, and his annual Christmas concert tours. He has released 12 albums as the leader of the B.E Taylor Group and a solo artist on the MCA, Epic/CBS, and Chrishae labels. His singles  "Karen" and "Vitamin L" reached the Billboard Top 100 charts and "Never Hold Back" charted at 54 in Mainstream Rock.  His recording of "Joy To the World" reached #54 on the Adult Contemporary Chart.  Over his five decade career.he has wowed audiences performing in concert halls, stadiums, and clubs throughout the U.S. along with appearances on PBS and other national television shows.  His annual 20 city Christmas tours draw tens of thousands fans. B.E's has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Ballet, and the Wheeling Symphony.  He has been a music director for the nationally syndicated LightMusic TV show and singer Kathy Troccoli.  He has also appeared as a vocalist on recordings. by Stephanie Fraschetti, Gary Grimes, Joe Grushecky, Push and Mike Stout.  

B.E. Taylor was inducted into the Beaver Valley Musicians Hall of Fame in 2005.  In 2008 B.E. received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Duquesne University's Mary Pappert School of Music.

B.E. Taylor Christmas

B.E. Taylor's Christmas shows and Christmas CDs all began when he recorded a version of "Silent Nigh"t for a compilation CD issued by Pittsburgh radio station 3WS.  It became a hot radio request and generated fan demand for a full length Christmas CD. The “B.E. Taylor Christmas” CD was released on Chrishae Records in 1994 becoming an instant tradition in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and it broke nationally in 1996.  In December 2000, B.E. released “B.E. Taylor Christmas 2”, continuing to transform traditional Christmas favorites into his unique sound. It also includes the moving Christmas originals “I Will Remember” and the joyful “Feel The Love of Christmas”. The Christmas CDs have been brought to life every year for the for two decades. The live B.E. Taylor Christmas Concert series is an annual sellout and a Christmas tradition in the region of Western Pennsylvania, Southeast Ohio and Northern West Virginia.  The B.E. Taylor Christmas show has been performed at the prestigious Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh; The West Virginia University Creative Arts Center, the Cathedral Auditorium in  New Castle, PA; the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, WV; The Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, WV, the Lamb's Theater in New York City, and in Chicago.  The Christmas show band features vocalists Jeff Jimerson and Hermie Granati, horn player Jamie Peck, a gospel choir, a drum line and a cast of talented musicians.  The show has been aired on over 150 PBS television stations nationwide and is available on DVD. 

"If you like rock music filled with emotion, power, and heft, and can imagine it expertly applied to time-honored holiday tunes, B.E. Taylor Christmas will become a tradition in your home" - Lance Jones Musicasaurus 

Quip-Town Singer is Born

B.E. Taylor was born William Edward Taylor, in 1954 in the steel town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, also the hometown of composer Henry Mancini and football great Mike Ditka.  He grew up the the McDonald Heights neighborhood listing to the music of Motown, the Beatles, Doors and Rolling Stones.  Struck by the kidney disease Nephritis (“Bright’s Disease"  at age 11 he was hospitalized and confined to home care for over a year. susceptible to infection and germs he had limited visitation and was home tutored.  To help him pass the time during his home confinement his parents bought him a guitar.  He practiced constantly and learn to accompany himself singing. Recovered from his illness he returned to school the following year.

Having learned the basics of guitar he auditioned for a band called the Red Coats.  At the audition B.E. was asked to sing.  Having never sung with a group before he was surprised when the Red Coats liked the sound of his voice.  He has been singing ever since.

B.E. played his first gig with the Red Coats at a wedding reception of at Ambridge Polish Hall.  The band earned $20.  He began performing in bars and at weddings and dances with the Red Coats while his was in junior high school. B.E. graduated from Aliquippa High School in 1969.

B.E. Taylor and the Establishment

In 1970 B.E. formed the band own band B.E. Taylor and The Establishment.  They played the rock clubs of Western, Pa, Southeastern Ohio an the West Virginia panhandle.  They were the Saturday night Regulars at Mancini's Lounge in McKees Rocks in 1970 and in 1971 became the regulars on Thursday nigts at Morry's Speakeasy in Rochester, Pa.  Guitarist Steve Dudas who went on to record and tour with Ringo Star was a member of the Establish in during 1974.  The Establishment played their last concert at Geneva College in Beaver Falls.  They told the crown that they breaking up.

Captured by the LAW

With the breakup of his B.E. bought a plane ticket to L.A. where he want to continue his music career.  While waiting to leave received a desperate telephone call from the successful Youngstown band Law that had recorded for GRC Records in 1975.  Their lead singing Ronnie Lee Cunningham had left the band and they quickly needed a replacement for a 10 week national tour.  B.E. took up the LAW on their offer.

After his tour with LAW B.E. joined another Youngstown based band Coconut with members Gary Markasky, and Myron Grombacher and Hermie Granati.  They appeared frequently at Youngstown's Tomorrow Club. Later in the 1970s B.E. sang with a disco band.  B.E. also recorded a single with former Jaggerz member Donnie Iris.  

B.E. Taylor Group

Wanting to write and record original music B.E. turned to three experienced national recording artists to form a new band.  While B.E. was performing with the Establishment, LAW and Coconut, another band from the West Virginia / Southwest Ohio was having success.  Crack the Sky with guitarist Rick Witkowski released 3 albums on Lifesong Records earning critical praise from Rolling Stone Magazine. and reached the Billboard Charts.  When their lead singer quit and their record contract ran out Crack the Sky broke up.  Three members of Crack the Sky: guitarist Rick Witkwoski,  bassist Joey Macre and drummer Joey D’Amico.joined with to B.E. to form B.E. Taylor Group in 1979.

Working in Cleveland B.E. met Gus Socrates  who became his manager.  The B.E. Taylor group became the regular house band at Socrates' Dancer Club in Weirton West Virginia and played clubs in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  They quickly build a large regional fan base.     

The B.E. Taylor Group recorded a demo tape at Jeree Studio in New Brighten, Pa that led to their signing with Sweet City Records / MCA.  MCA released the B.E. Taylor Group albums “Innermission" in 1982 and "Love Won The Fight" in 1983.  Signing with Epic/CBS Records they release “Our World 1986.  Rick and his wife Deborah co-wrote the song "Vitamin L" that reached no. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 as that was aired on MTV. 

After the B.E. Taylor group broke up B.E. continue his career on television, in commercials and as a solo artist leading a new band with guitarist Rick Witkowski, drummer Rich Dickerson, bassist Tom Bellin. and Jamie Peck on horns.

LightMusic and Kathy Troccoli

B.E. was the music director, composer, and performer on the award-winning cable TV show, LightMusic which aired on over 1000 cable systems in America and nine foreign countries. He led the house band and co-hosted the program. LightMusic won the award for Best Contemporary Christian Mainstream Video Show in 1993, 1994, 1995. From 1994 through 1997 B.E. was the music director and toured with Christian singing star Kathy Troccoli. The highlight of career with Troccoli was a 1994 performance in Central Park for the Pope. During this period B.E. also did voice work for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Old Navy, Roy Rogers and other clients. 

Chrishae Records Releases

In 1994 B.E. founded the label Chrishae Records to release and began recording solo albums in working with song writer / guitarist and recording engineer Rick Witkowski.  The first release was the "B.E. Taylor Christmas" CD in 1994.   Featuring R&B, rock, and reggae flavored arrangements of "Joy to the World," "What Child Is This?" and "Little Drummer Boy" it became an enduring Christmas music classic.

Chrishae released the "Try Love" album released in 1997.  Two tracks received wide national airplay. "This Time" was played in 100 markets and charted at #29 on Gavin's Adult Contemporary Chart. "Love You All Over Again" was played in over 63 markets and received airplay on the nationally syndicated Love Song Show, Delilah, in 200 markets. 

Taylor's subsequent releases include "B.E. Taylor Christmas 2" in 2000, "One Nation Under God" in 2004, "Love Never Fails" in 2006, "Give Thanks" in 2008, "Christmas Live at Heinz Hall 2012, and "Christmas 3" in 2012.

Pittsburgh Ballet Performances

In 2008,Taylor's music was presented in week-long series of Pittsburgh Ballet Valentine's Day performances.  .Billed as “Forever Love” it featured a world ballet world premiere with B.E. Taylor and his band performing their love-themed hits and romantic ballads. Four performances were held at the Byham Theater in downtown Pittsburgh from Feb. 14 to 17. 

Pittsburgh Pops Performances

In 2010, Marvin Hamlisch conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and B.E. Taylor in a performances of his patriotic song arrangements at Heinz Hall and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland, PA..  Billed as "A Salute to America with B.E. Taylor and Marvin Hamlisch" is was performed in fiver concerts from June 16 to June 20 2013. This concert featured B.E.'s arrangements of the classic American songs “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “The Star Spangled Banner” along with the orchestral debut of his original songs "The Pledge of Allegiance" and "I Say We Say USA".Taylor also performed "Vitamin L" and his other pop songs.

B.E. performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2003 as part of a Heinz Hall tribute to Fred Rogers, hosted by Paula Zahn, Pat Sajak and John Lithgow.  He sang Daniel the Tiger's song, "Am I a Mistake.  B.E. also appeared with the PSO at KDKA’s 85th Anniversary "Newsical" concert in 2005.

B.E. Taylor Pop Tunes
B.E. Taylor Interview 1983
B.E. Taylor Group -Love Won the Fight
B.E. Taylor Christmas Show
Marvin Hamlish and B.E. Taylor 2010