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:. In addition to her performing, Tucker was active in efforts to unionize professional actors, and was elected president of the American Federation of Actors in 1938. Grammy Awards:. Sophie Tucker's comic style is credited with influencing later female entertainers, including Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, and Roseanne. In 2001 Taylor wed for the third time to Caroline (Kim) Smedvig, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She was interred at Emanuel Cemetery in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Taylor's appearances were joint performances with the Dixie Chicks. and UK until shortly before dying of lung cancer in 1966.

Bush in that year's Presidential campaign. She continued performing in the U.S. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the general goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. In the 1950s and early 1960s she made television appearances on the popular Ed Sullivan Show, What's My Line, and the Tonight Show. 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. She was billed as "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," as her hearty sexual appetite was a frequent subject of her songs, unusual for female performers of the era. 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. In the 1930s Tucker brought elements of nostalgia for the early years of 20th century into her show.

It featured a number of quiet but sophisticated instrumental accompaniments and passages, one of which won the corresponding Grammy. She also made the first of her many movie appearances in the 1929 sound picture "Honky Tonk.". Flanked by two greatest hits releases, the new October Road appeared in 2002 to a receptive audience. Tucker remained a popular singer through the 1920s, and hired stars such as Mamie Smith and Ethel Waters to give her lessons. 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. Besides writing a number of songs for Tucker, Shapiro became part of her stage act, playing piano on stage while she sang, and exchanging banter and wisecracks with her in between numbers. His concerts feature songs from throughout his career; a particular strength is his section of backup singers, especially Arnold McCuller. In 1921 Tucker hired pianist and songwriter Ted Shapiro as her accompanist and musical director, a position he would keep throughout her career.

He toured regularly, and was especially popular on the American summer outdoor amphitheatre circuit. The tune, written by Shelton Brooks, was a hit and became Tucker's theme song, and later was the title of her 1945 autobiography. 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. She made the first of her several recordings of "Some of These Days" in 1911 for Edison Records. He put his addiction problems behind him. Tucker made her first appearance in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1909, but didn't last long there because Ziegfeld's other female stars soon refused to share the spotlight with the popular Tucker. Beginning in 1985 Taylor staged a career resurgence. She did, however, continue to draw much of her material from African American writers and culture, singing in a ragtime- and blues-influenced style, becoming known for a time as "The Ragtime Mary Garden," a reference to a famous operatic soprano of the era.

Taylor also performed at the No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, then appeared on the album and film from the concert. To the theater manager's surprise, Tucker was a bigger hit without her makeup than with it, and she never wore blackface again. The album was a success, though there were no hit singles from it. At a 1908 appearance the luggage containing Tucker's makeup kit was stolen shortly before the show, and she hastily went on stage without her customary blackface. After collaborating with Art Garfunkel and briefly working on Broadway, Taylor took a two-year break, reappearing in 1979 with Flag. Not content with performing in the simple minstrel traditions, Tucker hired some of the best African American singers of the time to give her lessons and hired African American composers to write songs for her act. Taylor signed to Columbia Records and released JT in 1977, winning another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for "Handy Man". She made a name for herself in a style that was known at the time as a "Coon Shouter," performing African American influenced songs.

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. She even sang songs that acknowledged her heft, like "Nobody Loves a Fat Girl, But Oh How a Fat Girl Can Love.". Taylor and Simon had two children, Benjamin ("Ben") and Sarah ("Sally"). She later said that this was at the insistence of theater managers, who said she was "too fat and ugly" to be accepted by the audience in any other context. It became a huge hit and remains Taylor's best-selling album. Tucker played piano and sang burlesque and vaudeville tunes, at first in blackface. 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 1903 she was briefly married to Louis Tuck; from which she decided to change her name to "Tucker." (She would marry twice more in her life, but neither marriage lasted more than five years.).

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)". She was born as Sophia Kalish in Russia; her family immigrated to the United States when she was an infant and settled in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1972 (see 1972 in music) Taylor returned with One Man Dog and married Carly Simon, another singer-songwriter. Sophie Tucker (13 January 1884 - 9 February 1966) was a singer and comedian, one of the most popular United States entertainers of the first third of the 20th century. He won a Grammy Award for his version of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend". Believe me, honey, rich is better.". 1971 saw the release of Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, another hit album. "I've been rich and I've been poor.

Taylor worked with Dennis Wilson (of the Beach Boys) on a film, Two-Lane Blacktop, but this was unsuccessful at the time. 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. 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. Once recovered, Taylor signed to Warner Brothers Records and moved to California, keeping Peter Asher as his manager and record producer.

Shortly after that, he broke both hands in a motorcycle accident on Martha's Vineyard and was forced to stop playing for several months. On July 20, 1969, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival. By 1969, he was well enough to perform live and had a six-night stand at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles. Moving back to the United States, Taylor checked into Austin Riggs Hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to try to kick the habit.

The album did not sell terribly well and Taylor's addiction worsened. 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. After a desperate phone call, his father drove to New York and "rescued" him. While living in New York, Taylor became addicted to heroin.

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. 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. He believes that this action on his behalf saved his life. 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.

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. Taylor first learned the cello as a child, then switched to the guitar in 1960. (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. Taylor's four siblings, Alex, Livingston, Hugh and Kate have also been musicians with recorded albums.

His Greatest Hits album from 1976 was certified diamond and has sold more than 11 million copies. 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. Taylor's career began in the mid-1960s, but he found his audience in the early 1970s, singing sensitive and gentle acoustic songs. His family summered on Martha's Vineyard.

He grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where his father was the dean of the University of North Carolina Medical School. James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, born in Boston, Massachusetts. ISBN 0711991936. Omnibus Press.

James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away. White, Timothy (2002). Pull Over (2002) - Recording of a 2001 show in Chicago, Illinois. Live at the Beacon Theatre (1998) - Recording of a show in New York City.

Squibnocket (1993) - Tour rehearsals on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. James Taylor: In Concert (1988). James Taylor: In Concert (1982) - CBS/FOX laserdisc of a 1979 concert in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. 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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