RIP Morgan Taylor, Beloved Indie Children’s Musician

The contemporary genius of kids’ rock has died at the age of 52.

Originally Published: 
Morgan Taylor performing
Morgan Taylor/Audible

The biggest purveyor of what some called “kindie rock” has sadly passed away. Morgan Taylor, the out-of-the-box kids’ musician, famous for Grammy-nominated projects like Gustafer Yellowgold, died on Aug. 11, 2022, after what Fatherly has been told was “a brief, sudden illness.” Taylor was a father and artist, with high-concept ideas resulting in brilliant results and a mountain of accolades.

Back in 2018, Fatherly spoke to Taylor at length about the creation of his multimedia character Gustafer Yellowgold, and why aspects of that project were (and were not) similar to Harry Nilsson’s The Point. For Taylor, the key wasn’t to make a “concept album” that just happened to be appropriate for kids but to actually make music that was for kids. “There’s no musical difference between what Nilsson is doing on The Point and what he’s doing on any of his other records,” Taylor joked. “It’s for children or the stoned.” This example of candor and humor is just a tiny glimpse of what made Taylor so great. And what made his work stand out.

Reps for Taylor issued a statement, in which several fellow musicians weighed in on what made Morgan Taylor great, both as a musician and a person.

Norah Jones said: “He sent a smile and a ray of light through everything he did, as the sound engineer at the Living Room on Stanton and Allen where we first met, through his songwriting, and through the fantastic world he created with Gustafer Yellowgold. He will be missed by so many people touched through friendship, art, and imagination.”

Lisa Loeb said: “He brought us the brilliant, imaginative world of Gustafer Yellowgold through music, story, and images. His life and work was truly inspiring.”

John Munson said: “He was such a light. A stalwart beam that shone prolifically and effusively. He made the realities of growing up less scary for all of us, parents and children alike.”

Wilco’s Patrick Sansone, who produced one of Morgan’s projects, said: “Morgan was really, in his own way, a magician. He had the ability to weave his brilliant pop craftsmanship, his mischievous sense of humor and wide-eyed sense of childhood wonder, and his profound empathy and humanism into a delightful and meaningful spell.”

Morgan is survived by his family — his wife, singer/songwriter Rachel Loshak-Taylor; his two sons, Harvey and Ridley; his mother, Elizabeth; his sister, Ann; and brother, Grant.

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