James Taylor

James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, born in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where his father was the dean of the University of North Carolina Medical School. His family summered on Martha's Vineyard.

Taylor's career began in the mid-1960s, but he found his audience in the early 1970s, singing sensitive and gentle acoustic songs. He was was part of a wave of soft singer-songwriters of the time that also included Carole King, John Denver, Jackson Browne and Carly Simon.

His Greatest Hits album from 1976 was certified diamond and has sold more than 11 million copies.

"The Best of James Taylor" album cover

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 and did not record another album until 2003.) Taylor's children with Carly Simon, Ben and Sally, have also embarked on musical careers.

Early career

Taylor first learned the cello as a child, then switched to the guitar in 1960. While attending Milton Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts, Taylor met Danny Kortchmar at Martha's Vineyard and the two began playing folk music together. After dropping out of school, James formed a band with his brother, Alex, then was committed to McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts due to depression. He believes that this action on his behalf saved his life. He earned a high school diploma while in the asylum, then left and formed a band called the Flying Machine with Kortchmar and Joel O'Brien. The band was signed to Rainy Day Records and released one single, "Brighten Your Night with My Day"/"Night Owl"; the song was not a success.

While living in New York, Taylor became addicted to heroin. After a desperate phone call, his father drove to New York and "rescued" him. In 1968, Taylor moved to London. He was signed to Apple Records after sending a demo tape to Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon) and released his debut album, James Taylor. The album did not sell terribly well and Taylor's addiction worsened. Moving back to the United States, Taylor checked into Austin Riggs Hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to try to kick the habit. By 1969, he was well enough to perform live and had a six-night stand at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles. On July 20, 1969, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Shortly after that, he broke both hands in a motorcycle accident on Martha's Vineyard and was forced to stop playing for several months.

1970s success

Once recovered, Taylor signed to Warner Brothers Records and moved to California, keeping Peter Asher as his manager and record producer. His second album, Sweet Baby James, was a massive success, buoyed by the single "Fire and Rain", a song about his experience in an asylum and the suicide of a friend. The success of this single and the album, piqued interest in Taylor's first album, James Taylor, bringing it and the single "Carolina on My Mind" back onto the charts.

Taylor worked with Dennis Wilson (of the Beach Boys) on a film, Two-Lane Blacktop, but this was unsuccessful at the time. 1971 saw the release of Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, another hit album. He won a Grammy Award for his version of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend".

In 1972 (see 1972 in music) Taylor returned with One Man Dog and married Carly Simon, another singer-songwriter. His next album, 1974's Walking Man, was a disappointment but the following one, Gorilla, was a success, partially because of a successful single, a cover version of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)". This was followed by In the Pocket in 1976, and then a Greatest Hits album that included some rerecordings of Apple Records-era material. It became a huge hit and remains Taylor's best-selling album.

Taylor and Simon had two children, Benjamin ("Ben") and Sarah ("Sally"). Simon was unhappy with Taylor's being out on the road traveling so much; he rejected an ultimatum from her that he spend more time with his children, and they eventually divorced in 1983.

Taylor signed to Columbia Records and released JT in 1977, winning another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for "Handy Man".

After collaborating with Art Garfunkel and briefly working on Broadway, Taylor took a two-year break, reappearing in 1979 with Flag. The album was a success, though there were no hit singles from it. Taylor also performed at the No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, then appeared on the album and film from the concert.

Later career

Beginning in 1985 Taylor staged a career resurgence. He put his addiction problems behind him. That's Why I'm Here started a series of studio recordings that, while spaced further apart than his previous records, showed a more consistent level of quality. He toured regularly, and was especially popular on the American summer outdoor amphitheatre circuit. His concerts feature songs from throughout his career; a particular strength is his section of backup singers, especially Arnold McCuller.

Taylor's two albums of original material from the 1990s were notably successful: his thirteenth album, New Moon Shine, went platinum in 1991, and he won the coveted Grammy for Best Pop Album in 1998 for Hourglass.

Flanked by two greatest hits releases, the new October Road appeared in 2002 to a receptive audience. It featured a number of quiet but sophisticated instrumental accompaniments and passages, one of which won the corresponding Grammy. In 2004, with his Columbia/Sony record contract having concluded, he released James Taylor: A Christmas Album with distribution through Hallmark Cards; it continued the accompaniment trend.

Always visibly active in environmental and progressive causes, in October 2004 Taylor joined the "Vote for Change" tour, playing a series of concerts in American swing states. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the general 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.

In 2001 Taylor wed for the third time to Caroline (Kim) Smedvig, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Awards and recognition

Grammy Awards:

  • Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1971, "You've Got a Friend"
  • Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1977, "Handy Man"
  • Best Pop Album, 1998, Hourglass
  • Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 2001, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"
  • Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), 2002, "Mean Old Man", arrangement by Dave Grusin
  • Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, 2003, "How's the World Treating You", with Alison Krauss

Other recognition:

  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2000
  • Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2000

Discography

  • James Taylor (1968)
  • Sweet Baby James (1970)
  • James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine (1971) - recorded 1966-1967
  • Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971)
  • One Man Dog (1972)
  • Walking Man (1974)
  • Gorilla (1975)
  • In the Pocket (1976)
  • Greatest Hits (1976)
  • JT (1977)
  • Flag (1979)
  • Dad Loves His Work (1981)
  • That's Why I'm Here (1985)
  • Never Die Young (1988)
  • New Moon Shine (1991)
  • (LIVE) (1993)
  • (Best LIVE) (1994)
  • Hourglass (1997)
  • Greatest Hits Volume 2 (2000)
  • October Road (2002)
  • The Best of James Taylor (2003)
  • James Taylor: A Christmas Album (2004)

Videography

  • James Taylor: In Concert (1982) - CBS/FOX laserdisc of a 1979 concert in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
  • James Taylor: In Concert (1988)
  • Squibnocket (1993) - Tour rehearsals on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
  • Live at the Beacon Theatre (1998) - Recording of a show in New York City
  • Pull Over (2002) - Recording of a 2001 show in Chicago, Illinois

Further reading

  • White, Timothy (2002). James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0711991936.

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Other recognition:. Nick McCabe has mostly remained quiet after the breakup, although he has recently worked with a few artists, notably John Martin and Leeds based band, The Music. Grammy Awards:. Richard Ashcroft has also enjoyed a successful solo career, debuting with 2000's Alone With Everybody, followed by Human Conditions in 2002. In 2001 Taylor wed for the third time to Caroline (Kim) Smedvig, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tong has also appeared as a live replacement for departed Graham Coxon in Blur. Taylor's appearances were joint performances with the Dixie Chicks. After the band's final collapse, Simon Jones and Simon Tong formed a new group called The Shining along with former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire.

Bush in that year's Presidential campaign. After a year of inactivity, the Verve officially announced the end to their careers in 1999. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the general goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. Ashcroft was unable to exude his powerful stage presence when playing the guitar, and the live shows lacked the energy that existed when the talented McCabe was onstage. Always visibly active in environmental and progressive causes, in October 2004 Taylor joined the "Vote for Change" tour, playing a series of concerts in American swing states. Ashcroft took the duties of lead guitar for the rest of the tour, which resulted in unfavorable reviews for the band. In 2004, with his Columbia/Sony record contract having concluded, he released James Taylor: A Christmas Album with distribution through Hallmark Cards; it continued the accompaniment trend. Things got worse when Nick McCabe suddenly pulled from the tour and decided he couldn't tolerate the constant life on the road any longer (some speculate that the incident with Jones and McCabe's relationship with Ashcroft were the reasons).

It featured a number of quiet but sophisticated instrumental accompaniments and passages, one of which won the corresponding Grammy. Then, as the band was on a very successful tour to promote the album, bassist Simon Jones collapsed on stage. Flanked by two greatest hits releases, the new October Road appeared in 2002 to a receptive audience. ABKCO Music, which runs the Rolling Stones' back catalog, and which had warned The Verve against using the Rolling Stones sample in "Bittersweet Symphony," successfully sued the Verve for 100% of the royalties for "Bitter Sweet Symphony"; further, as a result of the lawsuit, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were given songwriting credits and full publishing rights to the song, which later appeared in a Nike commercial against The Verve's will. Taylor's two albums of original material from the 1990s were notably successful: his thirteenth album, New Moon Shine, went platinum in 1991, and he won the coveted Grammy for Best Pop Album in 1998 for Hourglass. Despite their success, turmoil was still a constant reality for the band. His concerts feature songs from throughout his career; a particular strength is his section of backup singers, especially Arnold McCuller. The release of Urban Hymns was considered by many a classic that kept the wave of Britpop rolling for at least a few more years.

He toured regularly, and was especially popular on the American summer outdoor amphitheatre circuit. Once the kings of the rock world, Oasis was nowhere to be seen with their lackluster effort, Be Here Now, while their rivals Blur decided to progress away from Britpop and focused their attention on the American Indie Rock scene. That's Why I'm Here started a series of studio recordings that, while spaced further apart than his previous records, showed a more consistent level of quality. The state of Britpop was in question. He put his addiction problems behind him. The timing of the release couldn't have been better. Beginning in 1985 Taylor staged a career resurgence. Urban Hymns propelled the Verve from merely critical darlings to one of the UK's most popular bands.

Taylor also performed at the No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, then appeared on the album and film from the concert. The song, which borrows a looped sample of a symphonic recording of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time", was the soundtrack for many in the summer of 1997 and is considered one of the finest songs ever written. The album was a success, though there were no hit singles from it. The single was also very popular in the US, topping the charts at #12 (their highest position ever in the Billboards). After collaborating with Art Garfunkel and briefly working on Broadway, Taylor took a two-year break, reappearing in 1979 with Flag. It entered the UK charts at #2 and remained on the charts for 3 months. Taylor signed to Columbia Records and released JT in 1977, winning another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for "Handy Man". The first single off Urban Hymns, "Bitter Sweet Symphony", was an instant hit.

Simon was unhappy with Taylor's being out on the road traveling so much; he rejected an ultimatum from her that he spend more time with his children, and they eventually divorced in 1983. Not only was the album a hit in the UK, but the band also "broke" into the US and most of the world. Taylor and Simon had two children, Benjamin ("Ben") and Sarah ("Sally"). For the first time in their careers, the Verve not only received very strong critical reviews, but they also experienced major commercial success. It became a huge hit and remains Taylor's best-selling album. With the band back together, the group went through a "spiritual" recording process to finish the epic Britpop classic, Urban Hymns. This was followed by In the Pocket in 1976, and then a Greatest Hits album that included some rerecordings of Apple Records-era material. In 1997, Nick McCabe returned to the fold (a crucial moment for the band).

His next album, 1974's Walking Man, was a disappointment but the following one, Gorilla, was a success, partially because of a successful single, a cover version of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)". Ashcroft, Jones, Salisbury, and Tong went ahead and started writing songs for the upcoming album. In 1972 (see 1972 in music) Taylor returned with One Man Dog and married Carly Simon, another singer-songwriter. As a replacement, the band chose old Wigan schoolmate Simon Tong to fill in the lead guitar duties for the remainder of the tour. He won a Grammy Award for his version of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend". Although Ashcroft reunited the group just a few weeks after the breakup, McCabe refused to rejoin the lineup. 1971 saw the release of Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, another hit album. The disappointing album sales and his strained relationship with Nick McCabe resulted in Richard Ashcroft breaking up the band.

Taylor worked with Dennis Wilson (of the Beach Boys) on a film, Two-Lane Blacktop, but this was unsuccessful at the time. Blur rivalry instead of focusing on the Verve's album. The success of this single and the album, piqued interest in Taylor's first album, James Taylor, bringing it and the single "Carolina on My Mind" back onto the charts. The rise of Britpop had captivated the UK in the mid-90s and the media had their attention on the Oasis vs. His second album, Sweet Baby James, was a massive success, buoyed by the single "Fire and Rain", a song about his experience in an asylum and the suicide of a friend. Despite the critical praise the album received, the band once again experienced a lack of commercial success. Once recovered, Taylor signed to Warner Brothers Records and moved to California, keeping Peter Asher as his manager and record producer. The latter two singles were particularly new for the Verve as they dabbled with soulful ballads, a formula that would make their final album such a success.

Shortly after that, he broke both hands in a motorcycle accident on Martha's Vineyard and was forced to stop playing for several months. The singles "This Is Music", "On Your Own", and "History" all reached the UK Top 40. On July 20, 1969, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival. When A Northern Soul was released, it received very strong reviews. The band broke new ground by departing from the neo-psychedelic sounds of A Storm in Heaven and instead recorded a powerful British alternative rock album. By 1969, he was well enough to perform live and had a six-night stand at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles. In ways that only good music and bad drugs and mixed emotions can make". Moving back to the United States, Taylor checked into Austin Riggs Hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to try to kick the habit. In great ways and terrible ways.

The album did not sell terribly well and Taylor's addiction worsened. Richard Ashcroft later described the recording experience as "Four intense, mad months. Really insane. In 1968, Taylor moved to London. He was signed to Apple Records after sending a demo tape to Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon) and released his debut album, James Taylor. The massive intake of drugs (particularly Ecstasy) and the strained relationship between Ashcroft and McCabe during the sessions took its toll on the band. After a desperate phone call, his father drove to New York and "rescued" him. The turmoil continued well into the recording sessions of the follow-up album, 1995's A Northern Soul. While living in New York, Taylor became addicted to heroin. After the tour, the Jazz label Verve sued the band for copyright infringements and forced the group to officially change their name to The Verve.

The band was signed to Rainy Day Records and released one single, "Brighten Your Night with My Day"/"Night Owl"; the song was not a success. The tour was disastrous for the group as Ashcroft was hospitalized for dehydration while Salisbury was arrested for destroying a hotel room in Kansas. He earned a high school diploma while in the asylum, then left and formed a band called the Flying Machine with Kortchmar and Joel O'Brien. The single "Slide Away" topped indie rock charts and made enough of a splash across the Atlantic to score the Verve a spot in the successful 90s alternative rock festival, Lollapalooza, in 1994. He believes that this action on his behalf saved his life. However, critics and the indie rock community hailed the LP for its expansive sound, particularly regarding Nick McCabe's unique and mind-blowing guitar work. After dropping out of school, James formed a band with his brother, Alex, then was committed to McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts due to depression. The whirling psychedelic sound of the album wasn’t radio friendly in the eyes of the music industry and the general pop audience.

While attending Milton Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts, Taylor met Danny Kortchmar at Martha's Vineyard and the two began playing folk music together. 1993's A Storm in Heaven, the band's full-length debut, was a critical hit (both in the UK and the US), but failed to attract a broader audience. Taylor first learned the cello as a child, then switched to the guitar in 1960. The Verve EP was positively received and established the Verve as cult favorites with epic songs like "Gravity Grave" and "A Man Called Sun". (Livingston is still an active musician; Kate was active in the 1970s and did not record another album until 2003.) Taylor's children with Carly Simon, Ben and Sally, have also embarked on musical careers. With Ashcroft's song-writing skills and McCabe's unique and impressive guitar work, the Verve released 1992's ethereal Verve EP on Hut Records. Taylor's four siblings, Alex, Livingston, Hugh and Kate have also been musicians with recorded albums. Led by Richard Ashcroft, an enigmatic lead singer who was rivaled by very few in the British rock scene for his stage presence and vocal abilities, the band caused a buzz in early 1991 for their ability to captivate audiences with their musical textures and sonic aptitude.

His Greatest Hits album from 1976 was certified diamond and has sold more than 11 million copies. The Verve (or simply Verve as they were originally called) were formed in the small town of Wigan in 1989. He was was part of a wave of soft singer-songwriters of the time that also included Carole King, John Denver, Jackson Browne and Carly Simon. Despite having to endure major breakups, health problems, drug abuse, and various lawsuits, the Verve released three successful albums and cemented a reputation as one of the most innovative and influential British rock acts of the last decade. Taylor's career began in the mid-1960s, but he found his audience in the early 1970s, singing sensitive and gentle acoustic songs. Their rise to success did not happen overnight - the band released LPs and EPs that were critically acclaimed and highly regarded, yet worldwide commercial success eluded them for most of their career. His family summered on Martha's Vineyard. At the height of their fame in 1997, the Verve were considered one of the finest bands from the UK and were one of the most popular groups worldwide before they abruptly called it quits in 1999.

He grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where his father was the dean of the University of North Carolina Medical School. The Verve were a British rock and roll band of the 1990s, originally formed in Wigan, England in 1989 by vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, born in Boston, Massachusetts. 1997 "Lucky Man" #7 UK. ISBN 0711991936. 1997 "The Drugs Don't Work" #1 UK. Omnibus Press. 1997 "Bitter Sweet Symphony" #2 UK, #12 US.

James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away. 1995 "History" #24 UK. White, Timothy (2002). 1995 "On Your Own" #28 UK. Pull Over (2002) - Recording of a 2001 show in Chicago, Illinois. 1995 "This Is Music" #35 UK. Live at the Beacon Theatre (1998) - Recording of a show in New York City. This is Music: The Singles 92-98 (compilation).

Squibnocket (1993) - Tour rehearsals on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Urban Hymns (1997) #1 UK, #23 US. James Taylor: In Concert (1988). A Northern Soul (1995) #13 UK. James Taylor: In Concert (1982) - CBS/FOX laserdisc of a 1979 concert in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. A Storm in Heaven (1993) #27 UK. James Taylor: A Christmas Album (2004).

The Best of James Taylor (2003). October Road (2002). Greatest Hits Volume 2 (2000). Hourglass (1997).

(Best LIVE) (1994). (LIVE) (1993). New Moon Shine (1991). Never Die Young (1988).

That's Why I'm Here (1985). Dad Loves His Work (1981). Flag (1979). JT (1977).

Greatest Hits (1976). In the Pocket (1976). Gorilla (1975). Walking Man (1974).

One Man Dog (1972). Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971). James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine (1971) - recorded 1966-1967. Sweet Baby James (1970).

James Taylor (1968). Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2000. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2000. Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, 2003, "How's the World Treating You", with Alison Krauss.

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), 2002, "Mean Old Man", arrangement by Dave Grusin. Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 2001, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight". Best Pop Album, 1998, Hourglass. Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1977, "Handy Man".

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1971, "You've Got a Friend".

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