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Profile of James Taylor


James Taylor

James Taylor performing the national anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts during Game Two of the 2007 Major League Baseball World Series, October 25, 2007

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


Born on March 12, 1948 to Dr. Isaac and Gertrude Taylor. James has 3 brothers namely Alex, Livingston and Hugh, and a sister named Kate. All of the Taylor kids went on to become musicians.


Boston, Massachusetts

Early Years:

The Taylor family moved to Chapel Hill in 1951 when Dr. Taylor was appointed as dean of the University of North Carolina's medical school. James studied the cello first before siwtching on the guitar when he was 12. While at Martha's Vineyard, James met guitarist Danny Kortchmar and the two became friends. At 16 he decided to take a break from his studies and performed with his brother Alex. When he was 17 he was admitted to the McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Massachusetts due to depression. It was during his stay there when James began to write songs.

Early Career:

Ten months later, James went back to New York to join his friend, Kortchmar, and another musician named Joel O'Brien. Their group was called The Flying Machine. The group recorded two songs: “Night Owl” and “Brighten Your Night With My Day” under Rainy Day Records. Both songs were penned by James but the record wasn't successful leading the group to disband in 1967.

Personal Struggles:

A year later, James moved to London in hopes of overcoming his heroin addiction. While there James submitted a demo tape to Peter Asher from Apple Records, the label owned by the Beatles. James then signed under Apple and his debut album James Taylor was recorded and released in the UK in 1968.His debut album didn't do so well, added to that, James hadn't been able to kick off his addiction. He went back to the US and checked into the Austin Riggs Hospital in Massachusetts. He left the hospital after five months and performed at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles for his solo debut.

Becoming Famous:

Peter Asher became his manager and they signed under Warner Bros. Records. With guitarist Kortchmar and pianist Carole King, they began working on his second album Sweet Baby James. The album, featuring the songs "Fire and Rain" and "Country Road", was released in 1970 and became a huge success. Following the success of Sweet Baby James, his first album was re-released featuring the song "Carolina on My Mind." In 1971 his version of "You've Got A Friend", written by Carole King, was #1 and he also appeared on a film titled "Two-Lane Blacktop."

Other Albums:

His other albums include:
  • Mud Slide Slim (1971, #2)
  • One Man Dog (1972, contains the song “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”)
  • Walking Man (1974)
  • Gorilla (1975, with the song "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) on #5)
  • In the Pocket (1976)
  • Greatest Hits (1976, includes the song “Something in the Way She Moves”)
  • JT (1977, #4, under Columbia Records, features the song "Handy Man")
  • Flag (1979, featuring his version of "Up on the Roof")
  • Dad Loves His Work (1981, contains the duet “Her Town Too”)
  • That's Why I'm Here (1985)
  • Never Die Young (1988)
  • New Moon Shine (1991)
  • Hourglass (1997)
  • October Road (2002)
  • Awards/Accolades:

    His awards include:
  • A Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance (1971, "You've Got A Friend")
  • In 1971, James Taylor was on the cover of Time citing his as one of the leaders of the singer-songwriter trend.
  • A Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance (1978, "Handy Man")
  • A Grammy for Best Pop Album (1997, Hourglass)
  • A Century Award from Billboard Magazine
  • RIAA Diamond Award
  • Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (inducted 1999)
  • Songwriters Hall of Fame (inducted 2000)
  • Other Achievements:

  • James was featured on Garfunkel's "(What A) Wonderful World"
  • He wrote songs for a Broadway musical titled Working
  • By the early 1980's James Taylor was busy with performance tours.
  • He appeared on the tv series West Wing in 2004.
  • James has been clean and sober since 1984.
  • He sang the national anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts during Game Two of the 2007 Major League Baseball World Series on October 25, 2007.
  • Love Life:

    On November 3, 1972, James married fellow singer/songwriter Carly Simon, they recorded the duets "Mockingbird" and "Devoted to You." James and Carly were divorced in 1983. In 1985, James married Kathryn Walker but they were later divorced in 1996. In 2001 James married Caroline Smedvig. For more on James Taylor, visit his official website.

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