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:. The band has made music videos for many of their songs. Grammy Awards:. The band's name is parodied in Terry Pratchett's novel Soul Music by the dwarf "rock band" "We're Certainly Dwarfs". In 2001 Taylor wed for the third time to Caroline (Kim) Smedvig, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Playfair defends Don Quixote's tilting at windmills, saying that the windmills of course were not giants, but thinking they might be shows imagination:. Taylor's appearances were joint performances with the Dixie Chicks. Scott plays Justin Playfair, a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes; his psychiatrist (last name "Watson") goes along with him in search of Moriarty.

Bush in that year's Presidential campaign. Scott and Joanne Woodward (based on the play of the same name written by James Goldman.) In the film, George C. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the general goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. The band takes its name from the 1971 movie "They Might Be Giants" (IMDB listing (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0067848/combined)) starring George C. 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. He designed many of their album covers — including the famous podiums of Lincoln — and performs and sings on many of their songs, both in their albums and occasionally live. 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. Throughout their career, Brooklyn musical inventor Brian Dewan has been a frequent collaborator and friend of the group.

It featured a number of quiet but sophisticated instrumental accompaniments and passages, one of which won the corresponding Grammy. Disney Sound released the CD and DVD separately on February 15th. Flanked by two greatest hits releases, the new October Road appeared in 2002 to a receptive audience. 2005 saw the release of Here Come the ABCs, TMBG's follow-up to the successful children's album No!. 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. Following the Spine Surfs the Hiway Tour of 2004, the band announced that they would take an extended hiatus from performing to focus on other projects, such as a musical produced by Flansburgh and written by his wife, Robin "Goldie" Goldwasser, titled People Are Wrong!. His concerts feature songs from throughout his career; a particular strength is his section of backup singers, especially Arnold McCuller. TMBG contibuted "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," a political campaign song from the late 1800's.

He toured regularly, and was especially popular on the American summer outdoor amphitheatre circuit. All proceeds went to progressive orginizations such as Music For America and MoveOn.org. 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 compilation was released by Barsuk and featured indie, alternative, and high-profile acts such as Death Cab For Cutie, The Flaming Lips, and Bright Eyes. He put his addiction problems behind him. TMBG also became slightly involved with the electoral process by contributing a track to the Future Soundtrack For America compilation, a project compiled by John Flansburgh with the help of Spike Jonze and Barsuk Records. Beginning in 1985 Taylor staged a career resurgence. (TMBG MP3 Music Store (http://www.theymightbedownloads.com/)).

Taylor also performed at the No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, then appeared on the album and film from the concert. By doing this, the band gets to keep money that would otherwise go to record companies. The album was a success, though there were no hit singles from it. In addition, they started one of the first artist-owned online music stores, at which customers can buy MP3 copies of their music for US$10 an album. After collaborating with Art Garfunkel and briefly working on Broadway, Taylor took a two-year break, reappearing in 1979 with Flag. They also went on tour again, visiting over 30 cities. Taylor signed to Columbia Records and released JT in 1977, winning another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for "Handy Man". TMBG teamed up with Homestar Runner to provide music for several cartoons as well as hiring its creators to do an animated music video for their song "Experimental Film".

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. They followed that up with a new album, The Spine, and an associated EP, The Spine Surfs Alone. Taylor and Simon had two children, Benjamin ("Ben") and Sarah ("Sally"). In 2004 they released their first new rock work in years, the EP Indestructible Object. It became a huge hit and remains Taylor's best-selling album. They followed it up in 2003 with their first book, an illustrated children's book with an included EP, Bed, Bed, Bed. 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 2002 they released their first album "for the whole family", No!.

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)". The film was released on DVD in 2003. In 1972 (see 1972 in music) Taylor returned with One Man Dog and married Carly Simon, another singer-songwriter. The film, released in 2002, won rave reviews and several awards, and was featured in dozens of film festivals. He won a Grammy Award for his version of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend". In 2001, they released the album Mink Car and were filmed as the subject of a documentary made by AJ Schnack titled Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns. 1971 saw the release of Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, another hit album. "Boss of Me" became the band's second top-40 hit in the UK.

Taylor worked with Dennis Wilson (of the Beach Boys) on a film, Two-Lane Blacktop, but this was unsuccessful at the time. This owes largely to the use of songs from all of the Giants' previous albums: the infamous punching-the-kid-in-the-wheelchair scene from the first MITM season, for example, was done to the strains of "Pencil Rain" from Lincoln. 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 decision to include the TMBG single "Boss of Me" as the theme song to the hit television series Malcolm in the Middle, as well as on the show's compilation CD, has brought a new audience to the band. 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. More recently, they composed and performed the music for the TLC series Resident Life and a song about the cartoon Courage the Cowardly Dog. Once recovered, Taylor signed to Warner Brothers Records and moved to California, keeping Peter Asher as his manager and record producer. They also perform the theme music ("Dog on Fire", composed by Bob Mould) for the Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Shortly after that, he broke both hands in a motorcycle accident on Martha's Vineyard and was forced to stop playing for several months. They Might Be Giants have also performed on other movie and television sound tracks, including The Oblongs, the ABC News miniseries Brave New World, and Ed and His Dead Mother. On July 20, 1969, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Also in 1999, They Might Be Giants became the first band ever to release an entire album exclusively on the Internet with Long Tall Weekend, available through Emusic's "TMBG Unlimited" service. By 1969, he was well enough to perform live and had a six-night stand at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles. In 2004, however, Dan Hickey left the band and was subsequently replaced by Marty Beller, who had already played with TMBG for kids' shows and other projects. Moving back to the United States, Taylor checked into Austin Riggs Hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to try to kick the habit. The Band of Dans was a trio of guys named Dan: guitarist Dan Miller, drummer Dan Hickey and bassist Danny Weinkauf.

The album did not sell terribly well and Taylor's addiction worsened. In 1999, the ever-changing backing band lineup settled on The Band of Dans, forming a full house line-up of Johns and Dans for almost five years. 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. Several albums have followed, including John Henry (1994) and Factory Showroom (1996). After a desperate phone call, his father drove to New York and "rescued" him. The 1992 release of Apollo 18 saw Flansburgh and Linnell attract a supporting band, consisting of former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone and drummer Brian Doherty. While living in New York, Taylor became addicted to heroin. Following those successes, Bar/None Records released the B-sides and rarities compilation Miscellaneous T in 1991.

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. This reflects the high "kid appeal" that TMBG has, resulting from their often silly or absurd songs and poppy melodies. 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. Further interest in the band was generated by a pair of music videos featured in Warner Brothers cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures: "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Particle Man". He believes that this action on his behalf saved his life. Flood earned them a gold album, thanks to the singles "Birdhouse in Your Soul", which reached number 6 in the UK charts, and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)". 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. In 1989, they signed with Elektra Records, and released their third album Flood the following year.

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. The first single from Lincoln, "Ana Ng", reached number 89 on the UK Billboard charts, and was No.1 in the College Charts, earning the attention of major labels. Taylor first learned the cello as a child, then switched to the guitar in 1960. This album caused a major shock within the US music industry when in its first week of release it knocked U2's The Joshua Tree off the top of the Billboard College Charts (the US music industry's equivalent to the "Alternative/Independent" charts elsewhere in the world) after only a one week stay at the top (most were expecting U2 to be on top for the remainder of the year). (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. In 1988 they released their second album, Lincoln. Taylor's four siblings, Alex, Livingston, Hugh and Kate have also been musicians with recorded albums. The video for "Don't Let's Start" became a hit on VH1, earning them a broader following.

His Greatest Hits album from 1976 was certified diamond and has sold more than 11 million copies. The duo released their self-titled debut album in 1986, and it became a college radio hit. 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. It soon caught the eye of Bar/None Records and earned them a review in People magazine. Taylor's career began in the mid-1960s, but he found his audience in the early 1970s, singing sensitive and gentle acoustic songs. They did many live performances in New York but when Linnell broke his wrist in a biking accident and Flansburgh's apartment was broken into and all his guitars stolen, they set up the Dial-A-Song system with an answering machine hooked up to a tape of them playing popular songs. His family summered on Martha's Vineyard. Although they had a strong local following, they had a hard time getting a record deal.

He grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where his father was the dean of the University of North Carolina Medical School. The band began performing their own music, accompanied by a drum machine, and soon became fixtures on the Manhattan underground. James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, born in Boston, Massachusetts. The two finally reunited, and moved to Brooklyn to continue their career. ISBN 0711991936. Eventually the two went to separate colleges after high school, and Linnell joined The Mundanes, a New Wave group from Rhode Island. Omnibus Press. They began writing songs together in high school, but they never officially formed a band.

James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away. The two Johns first met as children in Lincoln, Massachusetts. White, Timothy (2002). They are also known for "Boss of Me," the theme to the hit television comedy, Malcolm in the Middle for which they won a Grammy Award. Pull Over (2002) - Recording of a 2001 show in Chicago, Illinois. Their appearance on the show Tiny Toon Adventures also gained recognition for their songs "Particle Man" and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)". Live at the Beacon Theatre (1998) - Recording of a show in New York City. TMBG's most famous songs are probably one single from each of their first three albums, "Don't Let's Start" (from They Might Be Giants), "Ana Ng" (from Lincoln), and "Birdhouse in Your Soul" (from Flood).

Squibnocket (1993) - Tour rehearsals on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. They Might Be Giants (commonly abbreviated to TMBG) is a pop/rock duo consisting of John Linnell and John Flansburgh, collectively known as "the two Johns" or "John and John". James Taylor: In Concert (1988). The Spine Surfs Alone (2004). James Taylor: In Concert (1982) - CBS/FOX laserdisc of a 1979 concert in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Indestructible Object (2004). James Taylor: A Christmas Album (2004). Bed, Bed, Bed (2003).

The Best of James Taylor (2003). They Might Be Giants In Holidayland (2001). October Road (2002). Music From Malcolm In The Middle (2000). Greatest Hits Volume 2 (2000). Man, It's So Loud in Here (2000). Hourglass (1997). Boss Of Me (2000).

(Best LIVE) (1994). Working Undercover For The Man (2000). (LIVE) (1993). S-E-X-X-Y (1996). New Moon Shine (1991). Back To Skull (1994). Never Die Young (1988). O Tannenbaum (1993).

That's Why I'm Here (1985). Why Does The Sun Shine (1993). Dad Loves His Work (1981). The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) (1992). Flag (1979). I Palindrome I (1992). JT (1977). Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (1990).

Greatest Hits (1976). Birdhouse In Your Soul (1989). In the Pocket (1976). Purple Toupee (1989). Gorilla (1975). They'll Need A Crane (1989). Walking Man (1974). (She Was A) Hotel Detective (1987).

One Man Dog (1972). Don't Let's Start (1987). Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971). 1985 Demo Tape (1985). James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine (1971) - recorded 1966-1967. Wiggle Diskette (1985). Sweet Baby James (1970). Users Guide to They Might Be Giants (album) (2005).

James Taylor (1968). Almanac (album) (2004) (Internet release only). Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2000. Venue Songs (2004) (Internet release only). Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2000. Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants (2002). Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, 2003, "How's the World Treating You", with Alison Krauss. They Got Lost (2002).

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), 2002, "Mean Old Man", arrangement by Dave Grusin. Long Tall Weekend (1999) (Internet release only). Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 2001, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight". Live (1999). Best Pop Album, 1998, Hourglass. Then: The Earlier Years (1997). Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1977, "Handy Man". Live!! New York City 10/14/94 (1994).

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1971, "You've Got a Friend". Miscellaneous T (1991). Here Come the ABCs (2005) (CD and DVD released separately). The Spine (2004). No! (2002).

Mink Car (2001). Severe Tire Damage (1998). Factory Showroom (1996). John Henry (1994).

Apollo 18 (1992). Flood (1990). Lincoln (1988). They Might Be Giants (aka The Pink Album) (1986).

Experimental Film (2004) (animated, with Homestar Runner characters). Courage The Cowardly Dog (2003?) (computer animated, aired on Cartoon Network). Boss Of Me (2001) (premiered on FOX, some airplay on MTV2 and other stations). Doctor Worm (1998).

Snail Shell (1994). The Guitar (1992). The Statue Got Me High (1992) (two versions exist - the BBC aired a different variation). Particle Man (1990) (animated, with Tiny Toons characters).

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (1990) (animated, with Tiny Toons characters). Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (1990) (claymation version). Birdhouse In Your Soul (1990). They'll Need A Crane (1988).

Purple Toupee (1988). Ana Ng (1988). Rabid Child (1986) (home video, not released publicly). Don't Let's Start (1986).

Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (1986).

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