James Vernon Taylor (born
March 12, 1948) is an American singer–songwriter and guitarist born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North
currently owns a home in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. 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 cover of Carole
's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits
was certified Diamond
sold nearly 12 million US copies. Following his classic 1977 album,
, he has retained a large
audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined
slightly until a big resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s,
when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including
Taylor was born at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 12, 1948, where his father, Isaac M. Taylor
, was a resident
. His father was from a well-off
family of Southern Scottish
ancestry. His mother, the former Gertrude Woodard, had
studied 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
(born 1947), Kate
(born 1949), Livingston
(born 1950), and Hugh (born
when James was three years old, the family moved to the countryside
of Carrboro, North
Carolina, when Isaac took a job as Assistant Professor of
Medicine at the University of
North Carolina School of Medicine.
They built a house in
the Morgan Creek area, 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
in Chapel Hill. Isaac's career prospered, but he was
frequently away from home, either on military service at Bethesda Naval
Hospital in Maryland or as part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica during 1955–1956.
Isaac Taylor later rose to
of the UNC School of
Medicine from 1964 to 1971. The family spent summers on Martha's
Vineyard beginning in 1953.
Taylor first learned to play the cello
child in North Carolina, and switched to the guitar
in 1960. His style on that instrument evolved
from listening to hymns
, and Woody
, while 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." He began attending Milton Academy, a prep boarding school in Massachusetts in Fall
1961; summering before then with his family on Martha's
Vineyard, he met Danny
Kortchmar, an aspiring teenage guitarist from Larchmont, New
The two began listening to and playing
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 age 14, and continued to learn the instrument
effortlessly. By the summer of 1963, he and Kortchmar were playing
coffeehouses around the Vineyard, billed as "Jamie &
Taylor faltered during his junior year at Milton, not feeling at
ease in the high-pressured college
despite having good scholastic performance.
The Milton principal 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. 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
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
; his grades
collapsed, he slept twenty hours a day, and he felt part of a "life
that I [was] unable to lead." 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.
As the Vietnam War
built up, Taylor received a
psychological rejection from Selective Service System
appeared before them with two white-suited McLean assistants and
was uncommunicative. Taylor earned a high school diploma in 1966
from the hospital's associated Arlington School. 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."
1966-1969: Early career
checked himself out of McLean and, at Kortchmar's urging, moved to
City to form a band.
They recruited Joel O'Brien,
formerly of Kortchmar's old band The King
, to play drums, and childhood Taylor friend Zachary
Wiesner (son of noted academic Jerome
) to play bass, and – after Taylor rejected the notion
of naming the group after him – 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, although he was plagued by self-doubt.
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.
Taylor associated with a motley collection of people and began
, to Kortchmar's dismay, and
wrote the "Paint It,
"-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". Released on Jay
, a subsidiary of Jubilee
, it received some radio airplay in the Northeast, but
only charted to #102 nationally. The same session had recorded
other songs, but Jubilee declined to go forward with an album.
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
(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
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
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 spent six months getting treatment and making a
tentative recovery; he also required a throat operation to fix
vocal cords damaged from singing too harshly.
decided to try being a solo act and a change of scenery, and funded
by a small family inheritance, moved to London in late
1967, living variously in Notting Hill, Belgravia, and Chelsea. He recorded some demos in Soho and, based
on Kortchmar's connection of The King Bees having once opened for
Peter and Gordon, brought them to
Peter Asher, who was A&R head for The
Beatles' newly-formed label Apple
Asher showed the demos to Paul McCartney
, who later said, "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. 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 the album from July to
October 1968 at Trident
Studios, at the same time The Beatles were recording
The White Album.
McCartney and an uncredited George
guested on "Carolina in
", whose lyric holy host of others standing around
made reference to the Beatles, while the title phrase of
Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves" provided the starting
point for Harrison's classic "Something
McCartney and Asher brought in arranger
orchestrations to several of the songs and unusual "link" passages
in between them; these would receive a mixed reception at
During the recording sessions, Taylor fell back into his drug
habit, using heroin and methadrine
underwent visepdone 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.
Meanwhile, Apple released his debut album, James Taylor
, in December 1968 in
the UK and February 1969 in the U.S. Critical reaction was
generally good, including a very positive Jon
review in Rolling
which said "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 due to his hospitalization and it sold poorly; "Carolina in My Mind
" was released as a
single, but failed to chart in the UK and only made #118 in the
itself had fallen into
chaos, with anarchic business planning and freeloaders taking
advantage of it in every direction. In early 1969, to clean up the
situation, three of the Beatles brought in Allen Klein
, who began purging Apple personnel.
Asher did not like Klein; he resigned of his own accord and offered
to manage Taylor, to which Taylor agreed. Klein wanted to hit
Taylor with a $5 million lawsuit for leaving, but McCartney (a
Klein antagonist) and then the other Beatles, overruled him on the
grounds that artists should not be holding each other to
1969 Taylor had a six-night stand at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles.
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 was forced to stop
playing for several months. But while recovering, he continued to
write songs and in October 1969, signed a new deal with Warner Bros. Records
recovered, Taylor moved to California, keeping Asher as his manager and record
In December 1969, he held the recording sessions
for his second album there. Entitled Sweet Baby James
, and with 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
," a song about Taylor's experience in psychiatric
institutions and the suicide of his friend, Suzanne Schnerr. Both
the album and the single reached #3 in the Billboard charts, with
Sweet Baby James
selling more than 3 million copies in the
United States alone. This success piqued tremendous interest in
Taylor and the single, "Carolina in
," put him back into the charts. Sweet Baby
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 Taylor one of the main forces of the nascent movement. It
earned several Grammy Award
including one for Album of the
, and would be listed at #103 on Rolling Stone's
500 Greatest Albums of All Time
in 2003. ("Fire and Rain" was
also listed #227 on Rolling Stone's list of the Greatest Songs of
During the time Sweet Baby James
was released, Taylor
appeared with Dennis Wilson
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 U.S. Atomic Energy Commission at
(This performance was released in 2009 on the album Amchitka,
The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace
.) In January
1971, sessions for Taylor's next album, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue
, began. Released in April, the album also gained
massive critical acclaim and contained Taylor's biggest Pop single
in the U.S., a version of the Carole King standard "You've Got a Friend
" (featuring backing
vocals by Joni Mitchell
, which reached
#1 on the Billboard charts in late July. The album itself reached
#2 in the album charts, which would be Taylor's highest position
ever on this list). (Ironically, Mud Slide Slim
knocked off the top spot by a Carole King album, who was at the
moment rocketing the charts with the blockbuster Tapestry
). In early 1972, Taylor
received his first Grammy, for (Best Pop Vocal
) for "You've Got a Friend" (King also won
Song of the Year
for the same song on that ceremony). The album went on to sell 2
1/2 million copies in the United States alone.
November 1972 saw the release of Taylor's following album,
One Man Dog
. A concept album
primarily recorded on 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, overall sales were dissapointing. The lead single
"Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" peaked at #18 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
They had two children, Sarah Maria "Sally"
Taylor, born January 7, 1974, and Benjamin Simon "Ben" Taylor, born
January 22, 1977.
1974-1976: Career ups and downs
Taylor spent most of 1973 enjoying his new life as a married man,
and he didn't return to the recording studio until January 1974,
when sessions for his fifth album began. Walking Man
was released in June and
featured appearances of Paul
. The album was a
critical and commercial disaster, being his first album to miss the
Top 5 since his contract with Warner. It received poor reviews and
sold a mere 300,000 copies in the United States. The title track
was a huge disappointment, and failed to even appear on the Top 100
– nevertheless, it stands today as an often reprised fan favourite
However, James Taylor's artistic fortunes spiked again 1975 when
the Gold album Gorilla
reached #6 and
provided one of his biggest hit singles, a cover version
Sweet It Is
," which featured wife Carly in backing vocals and
reached #5 in America and #1 in Canada. On the Billboard's Adult
Contemporary chart, the track also reached the top, and the
follow-up single, the feel-good "Mexico" also reached the Top 5 of
that list. A critically very-well received album, Gorilla
showcased Taylor's electric, lighter side that was evident on
. However, it was arguably a more consistent
and fresher sounding Taylor with classics such as "Wandering" and
"Angry Blues." It also featured a song about his daughter Sally,
was followed in 1976 by In the Pocket
Taylor's last studio album to be released under Warner Bros. Records
. The album found him with many
colleagues and friends, including Art
, David Crosby
, Bonnie Raitt
and Stevie Wonder
(who co-wrote a song with Taylor
and contributed an harmonica
solo). A very
melodic album, it was highlighted with the single "Shower the People
", an enduring classic
that hit #1 Adult Contemporary and almost hit the Top 20 of the Pop
Charts. But the album was not very well-received, reaching only #16
and being highly criticized, particularly by Rolling
. Nevertheless 1976 was a huge boom year in the recording
business - the year of inception of the "Platinum" disc - and
In The Pocket
was certified Gold.
Finished his contract with Warner, in November the label released
, the album that comprised most of his best work
between 1970 and 1976 and it became with time his best-selling
album ever. It was certified eleven times platinum in the US,
earning a Diamond certification by the RIAA
eventually selling close to twenty million copies worldwide. It
still stands as the best-selling folk album by any artist.
1977-1981: Move to Columbia and maintained success
In 1977 Taylor signed with Columbia
. Between March and April, he quickly recorded his first
album for the label. JT
released that June, gave Taylor his best reviews since Sweet
, earning a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year
in 1978. Rolling Stone was particularly favorable to the album –
is the least stiff and by far the most various album
Taylor has done. That's not meant to criticize Taylor's earlier
efforts [...]. But it's nice to hear him sounding so healthy."
reached #4 in the Billboard charts, selling more than 3
million copies in the United States alone. The album's Triple
Platinum status ties it with Sweet Baby James
all-time biggest selling studio album. It was propelled by the
highly successful cover of Jimmy
and Otis Blackwell
", which hit #1 on Billboard's
Adult Contemporary chart and reached #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 released of
two further singles – the rocking "Your Smiling Face" (an enduring
live favourite) reached the American Top 20 and "Honey Don't Leave
L.A." didn't enjoy much success, barely reaching the Top 75.
Back in the forefront of popular music, Taylor collaborated with
and Art Garfunkel in the
recording of a cover of Sam Cooke
which reached the Top 20 in the U.S. and topped the AC charts in
early 1978. After briefly working on Broadway, he took a one-year break, reappearing in the
summer of 1979 with the cover-studded Platinum album Flag, featuring a Top 30
version of Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Up on the Roof." Taylor also appeared
on the No Nukes
concert in Madison
Square Garden, where he made a memorable live performance of
"Mockingbird" with her wife Carly.
The concert appeared on
both the No Nukes album
In March 1981, James 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 he and Simon had had on each
other. The album was another Platinum success, reaching #10 and
providing Taylor's final real hit single in a duet with J. D. Souther
, "Her Town Too", which reached #5
Adult Contemporary and #11 on the Hot 100 in Billboard. The album's
title was, in part, drawn from the reasons for Taylor's divorce
from Carly Simon
She gave him an ultimatum: cut back on his music and touring, and
spend more time with her and their children, or the marriage was
through. The album's title was Taylor's answer, and Simon asked for
divorce. (The emotional repercussions of the divorce likely served
as at least part of the inspiration for "Her Town Too".)
1981-1996: Troubled times and new beginnings
Simon announced her separation from Taylor in September 1981 –
saying "Our needs are different; it seem[s] impossible to stay
together" – and their divorce became final in 1983. Taylor was
living on West End Avenue
Manhattan and on a methadone
program. 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, he dropped methadone and finally
kicked his drug habit for good.
had thoughts of retiring by the time he played the massive Rock in Rio festival in Rio de
Janeiro in January 1985. 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.
had... sort of bottomed-out in a drug habit, my marriage with Carly
had dissolved, and I had basically had 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 verses 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
December 14, 1985, Taylor married actress Kathryn Walker at the Cathedral of
St. John the Divine in New York.
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. During the late eighties, 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
album captures this,
with a highlight being Arnold
in the codas
" and "I Will Follow." In 1995, Taylor performed the
role of Lord in Randy Newman's
1997-2003: Successful comeback
After six years since his last studio album, Taylor released
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. The themes were also
inspired by Taylor and Walker's divorce, which took place in 1996.
Critics embraced the dark themes on the album, and
was a huge commercial success, reaching #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". The album also
gave Taylor his first Grammy since JT
, when he was honored
with Best Pop
On February 18, 2001 at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church,
, Taylor wed for the third time, marrying Caroline
("Kim") Smedvig, the director of public relations and marketing for
the Boston Symphony
. They had begun dating in 1995, when they met as he
appeared with John Williams
Boston Pops Orchestra
. 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 to a surrogate mother
via in vitro
Flanked by two greatest hit releases, Taylor's Platinum-certified
appeared in 2002
to a receptive audience. 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 Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia
Also in 2002, Taylor teamed with bluegrass musician Alison Krauss
in singing "The Boxer
" at the Kennedy Center Honors
. They later recorded the
duet, "How's the
World Treating You?" In 2004
, after he
chose not to renew his record contract with Columbia/Sony, he
Taylor: A Christmas Album
with distribution through
In concert at DeVos Hall, Grand Rapids, Michigan – April 2006
Always visibly active in environmental
and liberal causes, in
October 2004 Taylor joined the "Vote for
" tour playing a series of concerts in American swing states
. These concerts were organized by
with the goal of mobilizing
people to vote for John Kerry
George W. Bush
in that year's Presidential campaign.
Taylor's appearances were joint performances with the Dixie Chicks
Taylor performed "The
" at Game 2 of the World Series in Boston
on October 24, 2004. In December, he appeared as himself in an
episode of The West
entitled "A Change Is Gonna
." He sang Sam Cooke
"A Change Is Gonna
" at an event honoring an artist played by Taylor's wife
Caroline. Later on, he appeared on CMT
alongside the Dixie
. In early 2006
honored Taylor with performances of his
songs by an array of notable musicians. Before a performance by the
Dixie Chicks, lead singer Natalie
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
, who has sung backing vocals on Taylor's live tours
for many years.
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. In 2006
performed Randy Newman
's song "Our Town
" for the Disney
animated film Cars
. The song was nominated for the 2007
for the best Original
January 1, 2007, Taylor headlined the inaugural concert at the
Center in Albany, New York, honoring newly sworn in Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer.
Taylor's next album, One Man
was released on CD and DVD in November 2007 on
Label, where he joined with Paul McCartney
and Joni Mitchell
. 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
digital discrete 5.1 surround sound
mix of One Man
won a TEC Award
surround sound recording in 2008.
On November 28–30, Taylor, accompanied by his original band and
Carole King, headlined a series of six shows at The Troubadour. The
appearances marked the 50th anniversary of the venue, where Taylor,
King and many others, such as Tom Waits
, and Elton John
, began their music careers.
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.
the performance shown on CBS
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..." Taylor has used
versions of this joke on other occasions, and it appears as part of
his One Man Band
DVD and tour performances.
In December 2007 James Taylor at Christmas
for a Grammy Award. In January 2008 Taylor recorded approximately
20 songs by others for a new album with a band including Luis Conte
, Lou Marini
, Arnold McCuller
, Jimmy Johnson
, David Lasley
, Andrea Zonn
, Kate Markowitz
and Larry Goldings
resulting live-in-studio album, named Covers
, was released in
September 2008. Meanwhile, in summer 2008, Taylor and this band
toured 34 North American cities with a tour entitled James Taylor
and His Band of Legends. A additional album, called Other Covers
, came out in April 2009,
containing songs that were recorded during the same sessions as the
but had not been put out to the full
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.On Sunday,
January 18, 2009, he performed at the
We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln
, singing "Shower the People" with John Legend
and Jennifer Nettles
Taylor performed on the final The Tonight Show with Jay
on May 29, 2009, distinguishing himself further as
the final musician to appear in Leno's 17-year run.
On September 8, 2009 Taylor made an appearance at the twenty-fourth
season premiere block party of the Oprah Winfrey Show on Chicago's
Musicians in the family
Taylor's four siblings—Alex
, 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.
with Carly Simon—Ben
embarked on musical careers. In September of 2008 Billboard
magazine reported that Taylor is writing for a new album.
James Taylor collaborators
The following is a list of musicians who have played with
Awards and recognition
- 1971 — Best Pop Vocal
Performance, Male, "You've Got a Friend"
- 1977 — Best Pop Vocal
Performance, Male, "Handy Man"
- 1998 — Best
Pop Album, Hourglass
- 2001 — Best Pop Vocal
Performance, Male, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"
- 2003 — Best
Country Collaboration With Vocals, "How's the World Treating
You" with Alison Krauss
- 2006 — Grammy Award-sponsored
MusiCares Person of the Year. At a
black tie ceremony held in Los Angeles,
musicians from several eras paid tribute to Taylor by performing
his songs, often prefacing them with remarks on his influence on
their decisions to become musicians. These artists included
Carole King, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Taj
Mahal, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson
Browne, David Crosby, Sheryl Crow, India.Arie, the Dixie
Chicks, Jerry Douglas,
Alison Krauss, and Keith Urban. Paul
Simon performed as well, although he was not included in the
televised program; Taylor's brother Livingston appeared on stage as
a "backup singer" for the finale, along with Taylor's twin boys,
Rufus and Henry.
James Taylor Bridge, Chapel Hill,
— Honorary doctorate of music from the Berklee
College of Music, Boston, 1995.
— Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2000.
- 2000 — Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame,
— The Chapel Hill Museum in
North Carolina opened a permanent exhibit dedicated to
Taylor. At the same occasion the US-15-501
highway bridge over Morgan Creek, near the site of the Taylor
family home and mentioned in Taylor's song "Copperline", was
dedicated to Taylor.
- 2004 — George and
Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, UCLA Spring Sing.
- 2004 — Ranked 84th in Rolling
Stone's list of "The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of
— Honorary Doctorate of Music from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
- U.S. Billboard Top 10 Albums
- U.S. Billboard Top 10 'Pop' Singles
- He provided a guest voice to The
Simpsons episode "Deep Space
Homer" where he played some of his songs to Homer, Buzz Aldrin,
and Race Banyon when they were in space. He also appeared later on
in the series when the family puts together a jigsaw puzzle. His
face was the missing final piece.
- Performed "Second Star to the Right" on
Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney
Films in 1988 as one of Various Artists.
- Taylor performed "The
Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 2 of the World Series in Boston on October 25, 2007.
Taylor performed the US National Anthem at Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals in Boston on June 5,
- He appeared on Sesame Street performing the song "Your Smiling
Face" although the song was sung "Your Grouchy Face" as he sang it
to Oscar the Grouch. He also appeared on the Sesame Street video compilation Silly
Songs, and the album In Harmony: A Sesame Street
Record, performing the song "Jellyman Kelly".
- Has appeared on NBC's Saturday Night Live six times as a
musical guest: in 1976 performing "Shower the People," "Roadrunner"
(with David Sanborn), and "Sweet Baby
James" (host: Lily Tomlin); in 1979
performing "Johnnie Comes Back," "Up on the Roof," and "Millworker"
(host: Michael Palin); in 1980
performing with Paul Simon "Cathy's Clown
/ Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (host: Paul Simon); in 1988 performing
"Never Die Young," "Sweet Potato Pie," and "Lonesome Road" (host:
Robin Williams); in 1991 performing
"Stop Thinkin' About That," "Shed A Little Light," and "Sweet Baby
James" (Host: Steve Martin); and in
1993 performing "Memphis," "Slap Leather," and "Secret of Life"
(host: Rosie O'Donnell).
- He provided background vocals for "Back In The High Life Again"
by Steve Winwood in 1986.
- He performed at a benefit concert supporting John B. Anderson's
U.S. presidential campaign at Charleston, West Virginia in 1980.
- He provided background vocals for "Perfect Love" by Marc
- He appeared on The West
- He appeared on the The Johnny Cash Show,
singing "Sweet Baby James", "Fire and Rain", and "Country Road", on
February 17, 1971.
- He provided vocals for the song "First Me, Second Me" by the Italian band
Elio e le Storie Tese
- Along with Linda Ronstadt, he did
backup vocals for two hit singles on Neil
"Old Man" and "Heart of Gold". Twenty years later, the
two would reunite with Young on his Harvest Moon album, singing backup
on "From Hank to Hendrix," "War of Man," and the title track.
- He made his debut for his 24th album Other Covers on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April
- He appeared on the final of Star Académie, the Quebec version of
American Idol, on April 13,
- On May 29, 2009, he made a guest appearance and sang "Sweet
Baby James" on the final episode of The Tonight Show with Jay
Leno before Leno was replaced by Conan O'Brien.
- Taylor appeared briefly in the 2009 movie Funny People, where he played "Carolina on
My Mind" for a MySpace corporate event as
the opening act for the main character.
- Susan Broili. "Native son coming to Carolina for tribute -
Chapel Hill naming Morgan Creek bridge after James Taylor on April
26," The Chapel Hill Herald (Chapel Hill, NC), March 27,
2003, page 1: "Even though Taylor was born in Boston on March
12, 1948, he moved to Carrboro when he was 3 and considers himself
a North Carolinian."
- Current Biography Yearbook 1972, p. 428.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 51.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 50–51.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 51, 52, 59.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 55, 57.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 61.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 68–69.
- "Carolina on my mind: The James Taylor story,"
exhibit at the Chapel Hill Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Information retrieved 2007-12-24.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 68.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 93, 98.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 106–107.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 102, 103.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 105.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 111.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 111–112, 114.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 115.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 116.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 117.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 118–119.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 120–123.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 126.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 127–129.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 134–135.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 136–137.
- p. 146.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 137–140.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 142–144.
- p. 103.
- Schaffner, Beatles Forever, p. 123.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 146.
- Schaffner, Beatles Forever, p. 125.
- Current Biography Yearbook 1972, p. 429.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 144–145, 147.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 208.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 216, 243.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 275–276.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 279–280, 286.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 281–286.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 287–288.
- "James Taylor: At home on the road," by Ron Thibodeaux, The
Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 4, 1995.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 288.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 318.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 306.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, p. 301.
- White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 310–311.
- Mix Foundation. 2008 TEC Awards Winners. Retrieved on May 20
- "James Taylor makes a new CD as an unsigned
artist", Boston Herald, 2008.
- James Taylor Newsletter March/April 2009