James Taylor
American musician
James Taylor
James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Taylor achieved his major breakthrough in 1970 with the #3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first #1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies.
James Taylor's personal information overview.
News abour James Taylor from around the web
CES 2017: 50 Years of seeing the Future
Huffington Post - 20 days
CES, the beast with 200,000 attendees and more than 30,000 exhibitors that sprawls across Las Vegas, taking over the entire North Center and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and spills over to the Westgate, the Sands Expo halls, and the Venetian Hotel, as well as the Aria's conference center, continues even in this digital age to make a potent case for attending to see first-hand new products and innovations abounding that touch every aspect of our increasingly connected lives. This is CES' 50th iteration - In the five years that I've attended it has continued to grow, devoting increasing space to cars (which now market themselves as a technology play), football fields of stalls devoted to cities in China that produce consumer electronics, as well as increasing amounts of space to tech start ups from France, Israel, South Korea and The Netherlands. This year France made an incredibly strong showing featuring more than 200 companies/products not just Paris based com ...
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Huffington Post article
How Philippine President Duterte's Anti-Drug Killings Will Stunt Economic Growth
Forbes - about 2 months
The cancellation of a Manila show by American singer James Taylor to protest Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent war on drugs sounds at first like a one-off hit to business. Or the move might set a trend. The archipelago’s economic growth was expected to top the rest of Southeast Asia at [...]
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Forbes article
James Taylor Cancels Concert in Philippines, Citing Bloody Antidrug Campaign
NYTimes - 2 months
The musician said reports of “summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process” in the Philippines were “deeply concerning.”
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NYTimes article
Al Pacino, James Taylor, the Eagles and more receive Kennedy Center Honors
CNN - 3 months
It was a star studded event at the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Sunday night.
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CNN article
James Taylor, Al Pacino and Mavis Staples feted at Kennedy Center Honors
Reuters.com - 3 months
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington celebrated singer-songwriter James Taylor, actor Al Pacino, and gospel vocalist Mavis Staples at the annual Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday in a night of music punctuated by the approaching end of President Barack Obama's time in office.
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Reuters.com article
The Eagles, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor at a bittersweet Kennedy Center Honors 2016
LATimes - 3 months
Rocker Glenn Frey died before he could accept a Kennedy Center Honors award last year, but his Eagles bandmates and four other artists were feted Sunday at a bittersweet edition of the glitzy annual gala, the last of the Obama administration. Actor-director Al Pacino, singer-songwriter James Taylor,...
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LATimes article
'Leaving The Table'--A Eulogy For Leonard Cohen
Huffington Post - 3 months
I have to etch these words into my memory forever, while they are still fresh, while I am still stunned, while I am still reeling: Leonard Cohen has passed away, aged 82 years. His music is playing on a loop in my room as I write this, his words are playing on a loop in my mind. I find myself suddenly making frantic online purchases of live Cohen recordings on vinyl--1970's landmark Isle of Wight album, Field Commander Cohen dating from his 1979 tour, and a 1988 concert from one of my favorite venues (Toronto's Massey Hall). Undoubtedly, there are millions of people all around the world who are feeling his loss. Perhaps they knew him personally during the early days in Montreal. Or they could have crossed paths with him in New York City at the Chelsea Hotel. Maybe there's a Greek family living in his old house on the island of Hydra, who could regale visitors with anecdotes left in its dusty corners. Maybe there's a woman in England who owns everything he's written--all the po ...
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Huffington Post article
Gwen Stefani Hit The White House In A Plunging Sheer Gown
Huffington Post - 4 months
National treasure Gwen Stefani never ceases to amaze us with her unpredictable style. Save for that platinum blonde hair and signature bold red lip, you never know what fabulous look she’s going to show up in next. Stefani hit it out of the park Tuesday night performing at the Obama’s final state dinner, wearing a plunging black gown with a sheer skirt and floral appliqué .   Stefani accessorized with date Blake Shelton, who joined her on stage for a duet. Shelton accessorized with an American Flag pin and some hair gel.  Follow the latest in wellness, style, travel and more. Download HuffPost’s news app. The dinner was held in honor of visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini. Stefani, whose father is of Italian descent, performed a few songs for a crowd including President Barack and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe and Jill Biden, Jerry Seinfeld, Giorgio Armani, James Taylor, Frank Ocean, Mario Andretti, John Turturro, a s ...
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Huffington Post article
James Taylor Added to 94th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Talent Lineup
Yahoo News - 5 months
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- James Taylor has been added to the lineup for the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Find out who else has been announced so far at www.thenationaltree.org. Taking place on Thursday, December 1, on the Ellipse at President's Park (White House), the special event wraps the National Park Service centennial year and celebrates the launch of a second century of stewardship. ...
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Yahoo News article
Review: Stars swap songs in L.A. at Country Hall of Fame benefit
LATimes - 5 months
Education is a key mission at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  That made the 11th edition of the organization’s annual All for the Hall benefit concert and fundraiser an ideal companion piece. Emcee and 20-time Grammy Award winner Vince Gill and guest participants James Taylor,...
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LATimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of James Taylor
  • 2015
    The album, which was released on June 16 through Concord Records, arrived on top the chart of July 4, 2015, more than 45 years after Taylor arrived on the list with Sweet Baby James (on the March 14, 1970 list).
    More Details Hide Details The album launched atop the Billboard 200 with 97,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending June 21, 2015 according to Nielsen Music. Of its start, pure album sales were 96,000 copies sold, Taylor’s best debut week for an album since 2002’s October Road. Taylor's four siblings (Alex, Livingston, Hugh, and Kate) have also been musicians with recorded albums. Livingston is still an active musician; Kate was active in the 1970s but did not record another album until 2003; Hugh operates a bed-and-breakfast with his wife, The Outermost Inn in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard; and Alex died in 1993 on Taylor's birthday. Ben and Sally, his children with Carly Simon, have also embarked on musical careers. Taylor's children with his current wife express little interest in music. He has twins, Rufus and Henry. Taylor owns a house in Washington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
    The album itself reached 2nd in the album charts, which would be Taylor's highest position ever on this list until the release of his 2015 album, Before This World, which went to 1st, supplanting Taylor Swift.
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    He achieved his first number one album in the US in 2015 with his recording Before This World.
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  • 2013
    On April 24, 2013, Taylor performed at the memorial service for slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the men responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing.
    More Details Hide Details Taylor was accompanied by the MIT Symphony Orchestra and three MIT a cappella groups while performing his songs "The Water is Wide" and "Shower the People."
  • 2012
    He was active in support of Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, and opened the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
    More Details Hide Details He performed "America the Beautiful" at the President's second inauguration. After a 45-year wait, James earned his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with Before This World.
    Then, on July 2, 2012, Swift appeared as Taylor's special guest in a concert at Tanglewood.
    More Details Hide Details Taylor Swift was named after singer James Taylor.
  • 2011
    On November 22, 2011, Taylor performed "Fire and Rain" with Taylor Swift at the last concert of her Speak Now World Tour in Madison Square Garden, as well as her own song, "Fifteen".
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    On September 11, 2011, Taylor performed "You Can Close Your Eyes" in New York City at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
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  • 2010
    In March 2010, he commenced the Troubadour Reunion Tour with Carole King and members of his original band, including Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, and Danny Kortchmar.
    More Details Hide Details They played shows in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and North America, with the final night being at the Honda Center, in Anaheim, California. The tour was a major commercial success, and in some locations found Taylor playing arenas instead of his usual theaters or amphitheaters. Ticket sales amounted to over 700,000 and the tour grossed over $59 million. It was one of the most successful tours of the year.
    On March 7, 2010, Taylor sang the Beatles' "In My Life" in tribute to deceased artists at the 82nd Academy Awards.
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    On January 1, 2010, Taylor sang the American national anthem at the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, while Daniel Powter sang the Canadian national anthem.
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  • 2009
    On September 8, 2009, Taylor made an appearance at the 24th-season premiere block party of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Chicago's Michigan Avenue.
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    Taylor performed on the final The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 29, 2009, distinguishing himself further as the final musician to appear in Leno's original 17-year run.
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    On Sunday, January 18, 2009, he performed at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, singing "Shower the People" with John Legend and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.
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  • 2008
    During October 19–21, 2008, Taylor performed a series of free concerts in five North Carolina cities in support of Barack Obama's presidential bid.
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    Meanwhile, in summer 2008, Taylor and this band toured 34 North American cities with a tour entitled James Taylor and His Band of Legends.
    More Details Hide Details An additional album, called Other Covers, came out in April 2009, containing songs that were recorded during the same sessions as the original Covers but had not been put out to the full public yet.
    In January 2008, Taylor recorded approximately 20 songs by others for a new album with a band including Luis Conte, Michael Landau, Lou Marini, Arnold McCuller, Jimmy Johnson, David Lasley, Walt Fowler, Andrea Zonn, Kate Markowitz, Steve Gadd and Larry Goldings.
    More Details Hide Details The resulting live-in-studio album, named Covers, was released in September 2008. The album forays into country and soul while being the latest proof that Taylor is a more versatile singer than his best known hits might suggest. The Covers sessions stretched to include "Oh What a Beautiful Morning", from the musical Oklahoma, a song that his grandmother had caught him singing over and over at the top of his lungs when he was seven years old.
  • 2007
    In December 2007, James Taylor at Christmas was nominated for a Grammy Award.
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    Parts of the performance shown on CBS Sunday Morning in the December 23, 2007, broadcast showed Taylor alluding to his early drug problems by saying, "I played here a number of times in the 70s, allegedly".
    More Details Hide Details Taylor has used versions of this joke on other occasions, and it appears as part of his One Man Band DVD and tour performances.
    On November 28–30, 2007, Taylor, accompanied by his original band and Carole King, headlined a series of six shows at the Troubadour.
    More Details Hide Details The appearances marked the 50th anniversary of the venue, where Taylor, King and many others, such as Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, and Elton John, began their music careers. Proceeds from the concert went to benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council, MusiCares, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, a member of America's Second Harvest, the nation's Food Bank Network.
    Taylor's next album, One Man Band was released on CD and DVD in November 2007 on Starbucks' Hear Music Label, where he joined with Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell.
    More Details Hide Details The introspective album grew out of a three-year tour of the United States and Europe, featuring some of Taylor's most beloved songs and anecdotes about their creative origins—accompanied solely by the "one man band" of his longtime pianist/keyboardist, Larry Goldings. The digital discrete 5.1 surround sound mix of One Man Band won a TEC Award for best surround sound recording in 2008.
    On January 1, 2007, Taylor headlined the inaugural concert at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York, honoring newly sworn in Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer.
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  • 2006
    In 2006, Taylor performed Randy Newman's song "Our Town" for the Disney animated film Cars.
    More Details Hide Details The song was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for the Best Original Song.
    In the fall of 2006, Taylor released a repackaged and slightly different version of his Hallmark Christmas album, now entitled James Taylor at Christmas, and distributed by Columbia/Sony.
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    In early 2006, MusiCares honored Taylor with performances of his songs by an array of notable musicians.
    More Details Hide Details Before a performance by the Dixie Chicks, lead singer Natalie Maines acknowledged that he had always been one of their musical heroes and had, for them, lived up to their once-imagined reputation of him. They performed his song, "Shower the People", with a surprise appearance by Arnold McCuller, who has sung backing vocals on Taylor's live tours and albums for many years.
  • 2004
    In December 2004, he appeared as himself in an episode of The West Wing entitled "A Change Is Gonna Come".
    More Details Hide Details He sang Sam Cooke's classic "A Change Is Gonna Come" at an event honoring an artist played by Taylor's wife Caroline. Later on, he appeared on CMT's Crossroads alongside the Dixie Chicks.
    Taylor performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 2 of the World Series in Boston on October 24, 2004, and again on October 25, 2007 and "America" before the game on October 24, 2013.
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    Always visibly active in environmental and liberal causes, in October 2004 Taylor joined the Vote for Change tour playing a series of concerts in American swing states.
    More Details Hide Details These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. Bush in that year's presidential campaign. Taylor's appearances were joint performances with the Dixie Chicks.
    They later recorded the Louvin Brothers duet, "How's the World Treating You?" In 2004, after he chose not to renew his record contract with Columbia/Sony, he released James Taylor: A Christmas Album with distribution through Hallmark Cards.
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  • 2002
    Also in 2002, Taylor teamed with bluegrass musician Alison Krauss in singing "The Boxer" at the Kennedy Center Honors Tribute to Paul Simon.
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    Flanked by two greatest hit releases, Taylor's Platinum-certified October Road appeared in 2002 to a receptive audience.
    More Details Hide Details It featured a number of quiet instrumental accompaniments and passages. Overall, it found Taylor in a more peaceful frame of mind; rather than facing a crisis now, Taylor said in an interview that "I thought I'd passed the midpoint of my life when I was 17." The album appeared in two versions, a single-disc version and a "limited edition" two-disc version which contained three extra songs including a duet with Mark Knopfler, "Sailing to Philadelphia", which also appeared on the title track of Knopfler's album by the same name.
  • 2001
    On February 18, 2001, at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston, Taylor wed for the third time, marrying Caroline ("Kim") Smedvig, the director of public relations and marketing for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
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  • 2000
    A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
    More Details Hide Details He is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. Every album that he released from 1977 to 2007 sold over a million copies. His chart performance had a resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when he recorded some of his most-awarded work (including Hourglass, October Road, and Covers).
  • 1998
    The album also gave Taylor his first Grammy since JT, when he was honored with Best Pop Album in 1998.
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  • 1996
    The themes were also inspired by Taylor and Walker's divorce, which took place in 1996.
    More Details Hide Details Rolling Stone found that "one of the themes of this record is disbelief", while Taylor told the magazine that it was "spirituals for agnostics". Critics embraced the dark themes on the album, and Hourglass was a commercial success, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard 200 (Taylor's first Top 10 album in sixteen years) and also provided a big adult contemporary hit on "Little More Time With You".
  • 1995
    They had begun dating in 1995, when they met as he appeared with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
    More Details Hide Details Part of their relationship was worked into the album October Road, on the song "On the 4th of July". The couple reside in the town of Washington, Massachusetts, with their twin boys, Rufus and Henry, born in April 2001.
    In 1995, Taylor performed the role of the Lord in Randy Newman's Faust.
    More Details Hide Details After six years since his last studio album, in 1997 Taylor released Hourglass, an introspective album that gave him the best critical reviews in almost twenty years. The album had much of its focus on Taylor's troubled past and family. "Jump Up Behind Me" paid tribute to his father's rescue of him after The Flying Machine days, and the long drive from New York City back to his home in Chapel Hill. "Enough To Be on Your Way" was inspired by the alcoholism-related death of his brother Alex earlier in the decade.
  • 1988
    She had helped him get off heroin and Taylor's next albums were partially successful; in 1988, he released Never Die Young, highlighted with the charting title track, and in 1991, the platinum New Moon Shine provided Taylor some popular songs with the melancholic "Copperline" and the upbeat "(I've Got to) Stop Thinkin' About That", both hit singles in the AC radio.
    More Details Hide Details In the late 1980s, he began touring regularly, especially on the summer amphitheater circuit. His later concerts feature songs from throughout his career and are marked by the musicianship of his band and backup singers. The 1993 two-disc Live album captures this, with a highlight being Arnold McCuller's descants in the codas of "Shower the People" and "I Will Follow".
  • 1985
    On December 14, 1985, Taylor married actress Kathryn Walker at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.
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    Taylor had thoughts of retiring by the time he played the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro in January 1985.
    More Details Hide Details He was encouraged by the nascent democracy in Brazil at the time, buoyed by the positive reception he got from the large crowd and other musicians, and musically energized by the sounds and nature of Brazilian music. "I had... sort of bottomed-out in a drug habit, my marriage with Carly had dissolved, and I had basically been depressed and lost for a while, " he recalled in 1995. "I sort of hit a low spot. I was asked to go down to Rio de Janeiro to play in this festival down there. We put the band together and went down and it was just an amazing response. I played to 300,000 people. They not only knew my music, they knew things about it and were interested in aspects of it that to that point had only interested me. To have that kind of validation right about then was really what I needed. It helped get me back on track." The song "Only a Dream in Rio" was written in tribute to that night, with lines like I was there that very day and my heart came back alive. The October 1985 album, That's Why I'm Here, from which that song came, started a series of studio recordings that, while spaced further apart than his previous records, showed a more consistent level of quality and fewer covers, most notably the Buddy Holly song "Everyday", released as a single reached No. 61.
  • 1983
    Over the course of four months starting in September 1983, spurred on in part by the deaths of his friends John Belushi and Dennis Wilson and in part by the desire to be a better father to his children Sally and Ben, he dropped methadone and kicked his heroin habit.
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  • 1981
    Simon announced her separation from Taylor in September 1981 saying "Our needs are different; it seems impossible to stay together" and their divorce became final in 1983.
    More Details Hide Details Their breakup was highly publicized. At the time, Taylor was living on West End Avenue in Manhattan and on a methadone maintenance program to cure him of his drug addiction.
    In March 1981, Taylor released the album Dad Loves His Work whose themes concerned his relationship with his father, the course his ancestors had taken, and the effect that he and Simon had on each other.
    More Details Hide Details The album was another Platinum success, reaching No. 10 and providing Taylor's final real hit single in a duet with J. D. Souther, "Her Town Too," which reached No. 5 Adult Contemporary and No. 11 on the Hot 100 in Billboard.
  • 1980
    On December 7, 1980, Taylor had an encounter with Mark David Chapman, who would assassinate John Lennon just one day later.
    More Details Hide Details Taylor told the BBC in 2010: "The guy had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested, and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon. And it was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John." The next night, Taylor, who lived in the next building from Lennon, heard the assassination occur. Taylor commented: "I heard him shot—five, just as quick as you could pull the trigger, about five explosions."
  • 1979
    After briefly working on Broadway, he took a one-year break, reappearing in the summer of 1979, with the cover-studded Platinum album titled Flag, featuring a Top 30 version of Gerry Goffin's and Carole King's "Up on the Roof." (Two selections from Flag, "Millworker" and "Brother Trucker," were featured on the PBS production of the Broadway musical based on Studs Terkel's non-fiction book Working, which Terkel himself hosted, and Taylor himself appeared in that production as a trucker; he performed "Brother Trucker" in character.) Taylor also appeared on the No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, where he made a memorable live performance of "Mockingbird" with his wife Carly.
    More Details Hide Details The concert appeared on both the No Nukes album and film.
  • 1978
    Back in the forefront of popular music, Taylor collaborated with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in the recording of a cover of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World," which reached the Top 20 in the U.S. and topped the AC charts in early 1978.
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    JT, released that June, gave Taylor his best reviews since Sweet Baby James, earning a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year in 1978.
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  • 1977
    Peter Herbst of Rolling Stone was particularly favorable to the album, of which he wrote in its August 11, 1977 issue, "JT is the least stiff and by far the most various album Taylor has done.
    More Details Hide Details That's not meant to criticize Taylor's earlier efforts. But it's nice to hear him sounding so healthy." JT reached 4th in the Billboard charts and sold more than 3 million copies in the United States alone. The album's Triple Platinum status ties it with Sweet Baby James as Taylor's all-time biggest selling studio album. It was propelled by the successful cover of Jimmy Jones's and Otis Blackwell's "Handy Man," which hit No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and reached No. 4 on the Hot 100, earning Taylor another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his cover version. The song also topped the Canadian charts. The success of the album propelled the release of two further singles; the up-tempo pop "Your Smiling Face," an enduring live favorite, reached the American Top 20; however, "Honey Don't Leave L.A.", which Danny Kortchmar wrote and composed for Taylor, did not enjoy much success, reaching only 61st.
    In 1977 Taylor signed with Columbia Records.
    More Details Hide Details Between March and April, he quickly recorded his first album for the label.
  • 1976
    Gorilla was followed in 1976 by In the Pocket, Taylor's last studio album to be released under Warner Bros.
    More Details Hide Details Records. The album found him with many colleagues and friends, including Art Garfunkel, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Wonder (who cowrote a song with Taylor and contributed a harmonica solo). A melodic album, it was highlighted with the single "Shower the People", an enduring classic that hit 1st Adult Contemporary and almost hit the Top 20 of the Pop Charts. However, the album was not well received, reaching 16th and being criticized, particularly by Rolling Stone. Still, 1976 was a boom year in the recording business, the year of inception of the platinum disc, and In The Pocket was certified gold. With the close of Taylor's contract with Warner, in November, the label released Greatest Hits, the album that comprised most of his best work between 1970 and 1976. It became with time his best-selling album, ever. It was certified eleven times platinum in the US, earned a diamond certification by the RIAA, and eventually sold close to twenty million copies worldwide.
  • 1975
    However, James Taylor's artistic fortunes spiked again in 1975 when the Gold album Gorilla reached 6th and provided one of his biggest hit singles, a cover version of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)", which featured wife Carly in backing vocals and reached 5th in America and 1st in Canada.
    More Details Hide Details On the Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, the track also reached the top, and the followup single, the feelgood "Mexico" also reached the Top 5 of that list. A critically well received album, Gorilla showcased Taylor's electric, lighter side that was evident on Walking Man. However, it was arguably a more consistent and fresher-sounding Taylor, with classics such as "Mexico", "Wandering" and "Angry Blues". It also featured a song about his daughter Sally, "Sarah Maria".
  • 1973
    Taylor spent most of 1973 enjoying his new life as a married man and did not return to the recording studio until January 1974, when sessions for his fifth album began.
    More Details Hide Details Walking Man was released in June and featured appearances of Paul and Linda McCartney and guitarist David Spinozza. The album was a critical and commercial disaster and was his first album to miss the Top 5 since his contract with Warner. It received poor reviews and sold only 300,000 copies in the United States. The title track failed to appear on the Top 100.
  • 1972
    November 1972 heralded the release of Taylor's fourth album, One Man Dog.
    More Details Hide Details A concept album primarily recorded in his home recording studio, it featured cameos by Linda Ronstadt and consisted of eighteen short pieces of music put together. It was received with generally lukewarm reviews and, despite making the Top 10 of the Billboard Album Charts, its overall sales were disappointing. The lead single, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," peaked at 14th on the Hot 100, and the follow-up, "One Man Parade," barely reached the Top 75. Almost simultaneously, Taylor married fellow singer-songwriter Carly Simon on November 3, in a small ceremony at her Murray Hill, Manhattan, apartment. A post-concert party following a Taylor performance at Radio City Music Hall turned into a large-scale wedding party, and the Simon-Taylor marriage would find much public attention over the following years. They had two children, Sarah Maria "Sally" Taylor, born January 7, 1974, and Benjamin Simon "Ben" Taylor, born January 22, 1977. During their marriage, the couple would guest on each other's albums and have two hit singles as duet partners: a cover of Inez & Charlie Foxx's "Mockingbird" and a cover of The Everly Brothers's "Devoted to You."
    In early 1972, Taylor received his first Grammy Award, in the Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male category, for "You've Got a Friend"; King also won Song of the Year for the same song in that ceremony.
    More Details Hide Details The album went on to sell 2.5 million copies in the United States alone.
  • 1971
    His career success so far and appeal to female fans of various ages piqued tremendous interest in him, prompting a March 1, 1971, Time magazine cover story.
    More Details Hide Details It compared his strong-but-brooding persona to that of Wuthering Heights's Heathcliff and to The Sorrows of Young Werther, and said, "Taylor's use of elemental imagery—darkness and sunlight, references to roads traveled and untraveled, to fears spoken and left unsaid—reaches a level both of intimacy and controlled emotion rarely achieved in purely pop music." Released in April, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon also gained critical acclaim and contained Taylor's biggest hit single in the US, a version of the Carole King standard "You've Got a Friend" (featuring backing vocals by Joni Mitchell), which reached 1st on the Billboard Hot 100 in late July. The follow-up single, "Long Ago and Far Away," also made the Top 40 and reached 4th on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
    In January 1971, sessions for Taylor's next album began.
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  • 1970
    During the time that Sweet Baby James was released, Taylor appeared with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys in a Monte Hellman film, Two-Lane Blacktop. In October 1970, he performed with Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, and the Canadian band Chilliwack at a Vancouver benefit concert that funded Greenpeace's protests of 1971 nuclear weapons tests by the US Atomic Energy Commission at Amchitka, Alaska; this performance was released in album format in 2009, on the album Amchitka, The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace'.
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    Titled Sweet Baby James, and featuring the participation of Carole King, the album was released in February 1970 and was Taylor's critical and popular triumph, buoyed by the single "Fire and Rain," a song about both Taylor's experiences attempting to break his drug habit by undergoing treatment in psychiatric institutions and the suicide of his friend, Suzanne Schnerr.
    More Details Hide Details Both the album and the single reached 3rd in the Billboard charts, with Sweet Baby James selling more than 1.5 million copies in its first year and eventually more than 3 million in the United States alone. Sweet Baby James was received at its time as a folk-rock masterpiece, an album that effectively showcased Taylor's talents to the mainstream public, marked the direction he would take in following years, and made him one of the main forces of the nascent movement. It earned several Grammy Award nominations including one for Album of the Year. (It would be listed at 103rd on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, with "Fire and Rain" listed as 227th on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.)
  • 1969
    Once he had recovered, Taylor moved to California, keeping Asher as his manager and record producer. In December 1969, he held the recording sessions for his second album there.
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    However, while recovering, he continued to write songs and in October 1969 signed a new deal with Warner Bros.
    More Details Hide Details Records.
    In July 1969, Taylor headlined a six-night stand at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details On July 20, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival as the last act and was cheered by thousands of fans who stayed in the rain to hear him. Shortly thereafter, he broke both hands and both feet in a motorcycle accident on Martha's Vineyard and so was forced to stop playing for several months.
  • 1968
    Meanwhile, Apple released his debut album, James Taylor, in December 1968 in the UK and February 1969 in the US.
    More Details Hide Details Critical reaction was generally positive, including a complimentary Jon Landau review in Rolling Stone that said that "this album is the coolest breath of fresh air I've inhaled in a good long while. It knocks me out." The record's commercial potential suffered from Taylor's inability to promote it because of his hospitalization, and it sold poorly; "Carolina in My Mind" was released as a single but failed to chart in the UK and reached only 118th on the U.S.
    Living chaotically in various places with various women, Taylor wrote additional material, including "Carolina in My Mind", and rehearsed with a new backing band. Taylor recorded what would become his first album from July to October 1968, at Trident Studios, at the same time the Beatles were recording The White Album.
    More Details Hide Details McCartney and an uncredited George Harrison guested on "Carolina in My Mind", whose lyric holy host of others standing around me referred to the Beatles, and the title phrase of Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves" provided the lyrical starting point for Harrison's classic "Something". McCartney and Asher brought in arranger Richard Anthony Hewson to add both orchestrations to several of the songs and unusual "link" passages between them; they would receive a mixed reception, at best. During the recording sessions, Taylor fell back into his drug habit by using heroin and methedrine. He underwent physeptone treatment in a British program, returned to New York and was hospitalized there, and then finally committed himself to the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which emphasized cultural and historical factors in trying to treat difficult psychiatric disorders.
  • 1967
    Taylor decided to try being a solo act with a change of scenery. In late 1967, funded by a small family inheritance, he moved to London, living in various areas: Notting Hill, Belgravia, and Chelsea.
    More Details Hide Details After recording some demos in Soho, his friend Kortchmar gave him his next big break. Kortchmar used his association with the King Bees (who once opened for Peter and Gordon), to connect Taylor to Peter Asher. Asher was A&R head for the Beatles' newly formed label Apple Records. Taylor gave a demo tape of songs, including "Something In The Way She Moves," to Asher, who then played the demo for Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison. McCartney remembers his first impression: "I just heard his voice and his guitar and I thought he was great... and he came and played live, so it was just like, 'Wow, he's great.'" Taylor became the first non-British act signed to Apple, and he credits Asher for "opening the door" to his singing career. Taylor said of Asher, who later became his manager, "I knew from the first time that we met that he was the right person to steer my career. He had this determination in his eye that I had never seen in anybody before."
  • 1966
    Taylor associated with a motley collection of people and began using heroin, to Kortchmar's dismay, and wrote the "Paint It, Black"–influenced "Rainy Day Man" to depict his drug experience. In a hasty recording session in late 1966, the group cut a single, Taylor's "Brighten Your Night with My Day," backed with his "Night Owl".
    More Details Hide Details Released on Jay Gee Records, a subsidiary of Jubilee Records, it received some radio airplay in the Northeast, but charted to only 102nd nationally. Other songs had been recorded during the same session, but Jubilee declined to go forward with an album. After a series of poorly-chosen appearances outside New York, culminating with a three-week stay at a failing nightspot in Freeport, Bahamas for which they were never paid, the Flying Machine broke up. (A UK band with the same name emerged in 1969 with the hit song "Smile a Little Smile for Me". The New York band's recordings were later released in 1971 as James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine.) Taylor would later say of this New York period, "I learned a lot about music and too much about drugs." Indeed, his drug use had developed into full-blown heroin addiction during the final Flying Machine period: "I just fell into it, since it was as easy to get high in the Village as get a drink." He hung out in Washington Square Park, playing guitar to ward off depression and then passing out, letting runaways and criminals stay at his apartment. Finally out of money and abandoned by his manager, he made a desperate call one night to his father. Isaac Taylor flew to New York and staged a rescue, renting a car and driving all night back to North Carolina with James and his possessions.
    Taylor earned a high school diploma in 1966 from the hospital's associated Arlington School.
    More Details Hide Details He would later view his nine-month stay at McLean as "a lifesaver... like a pardon or like a reprieve," and both his brother Livingston and sister Kate would later be patients and students there as well. As for his mental health struggles, Taylor would think of them as innate and say: "It's an inseparable part of my personality that I have these feelings." Taylor checked himself out of McLean and, at Kortchmar's urging, moved to New York City to form a band. They recruited Joel O'Brien, formerly of Kortchmar's old band the King Bees, to play drums, and Taylor's childhood friend Zachary Wiesner (son of noted academic Jerome Wiesner) to play bass, and after Taylor rejected the notion of naming the group after him, they called themselves the Flying Machine. They played songs that Taylor had written at and about McLean, such as "Knocking 'Round the Zoo", "Don't Talk Now", and "The Blues Is Just a Bad Dream". In some other songs, Taylor romanticized his life, but he was plagued by self-doubt. By summer 1966, they were performing regularly at the high-visibility Night Owl Cafe in Greenwich Village, alongside acts such as the Turtles and Lothar and the Hand People.
  • 1965
    In late 1965 he committed himself to the renowned McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, where he was treated with Thorazine and where the organized days began to give him a sense of time and structure.
    More Details Hide Details As the Vietnam War escalated, Taylor received a psychological rejection from Selective Service System when he appeared before them with two white-suited McLean assistants and was uncommunicative.
  • 1964
    There, he joined a band his brother Alex had formed called The Corsayers (later The Fabulous Corsairs), playing electric guitar; in 1964, they cut a single in Raleigh that featured James's song "Cha Cha Blues" on the B-side.
    More Details Hide Details Having lost touch with his former school friends in North Carolina, Taylor returned to Milton for his senior year. There, Taylor started applying to colleges but soon descended into depression; his grades collapsed, he slept 20 hours each day, and he felt part of a "life that was unable to lead."
  • 1963
    By the summer of 1963, he and Kortchmar were playing coffeehouses around the Vineyard, billed as "Jamie & Kootch".
    More Details Hide Details Taylor faltered during his junior year at Milton, feeling uneasy in the high-pressured college prep environment despite a good scholastic performance. The Milton headmaster would later say, "James was more sensitive and less goal oriented than most students of his day." He returned home to North Carolina to finish out the semester at Chapel Hill High School.
  • 1961
    He began attending Milton Academy, a preparatory boarding school in Massachusetts in fall 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Summering before then with his family on Martha's Vineyard, he met Danny Kortchmar, an aspiring teenage guitarist from Larchmont, New York. The two began listening to and playing blues and folk music together, and Kortchmar quickly realized that Taylor's singing had a "natural sense of phrasing, every syllable beautifully in time. I knew James had that thing." Taylor wrote his first song on guitar at 14, and he continued to learn the instrument effortlessly.
  • 1960
    Taylor first learned to play the cello as a child in North Carolina and switched to the guitar in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details His style on that instrument evolved from listening to hymns, carols, and Woody Guthrie, and his technique derived from his bass clef-oriented cello training and from experimenting on his sister Kate's keyboards: "My style was a finger-picking style that was meant to be like a piano, as if my thumb were my left hand, and my first, second, and third fingers were my right hand."
  • 1953
    The Taylors spent summers on Martha's Vineyard beginning in 1953.
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  • 1951
    In 1951, when he was three, his family moved to what was then the countryside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when Isaac took a job as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
    More Details Hide Details They built a house in the Morgan Creek area off the present Morgan Creek Road, which was sparsely populated. James would later say, "Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people." James attended public primary school in Chapel Hill. Isaac's career prospered, but he was frequently away from home, on military service at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, or as part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica in 1955 and 1956. Isaac Taylor later rose to become dean of the UNC School of Medicine from 1964 to 1971.
  • 1948
    James Vernon Taylor was born at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on March 12, 1948, where his father, Isaac M. Taylor, was a resident physician.
    More Details Hide Details His father was from a well-off family of Southerners of Scottish ancestry. His mother, the former Gertrude Woodard (1921–2015), studied singing with Marie Sundelius at the New England Conservatory of Music and was an aspiring opera singer before the couple's marriage in 1946. James was the second of five children, the others being Alex (1947–1993), Kate (born 1949), Livingston (born 1950), and Hugh (born 1952).
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