James Taylor
* March 12, 1948
United States
Solo Artist
James started writing music in the mid 1960's as a student at a New England boarding school, far removed from his family and friends in the Piedmont Hills of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After early episodes of depression and restlessness, James decided to pursue his own path as a songwriter and musician, moving to New York City joining a band. Subsequently moving to London to further his career, James was introduced to Paul McCartney by his soon to be producer/manager, Peter Asher, and signed to the Beatles' Apple record label. Although Taylor's 1968 self-titled debut was critically well received, offering the future classics "Carolina In My Mind" and "Something In The Way She Moves," Apple records suffered from poor financial management and soon went bankrupt.

Undeterred, James packed up his notebook and guitar and headed home back across the Atlantic. He was quickly picked up by Warner Brothers Records, for whom he recorded six albums. His first release in 1970, Sweet Baby James, was his introduction to the music world at large, and it proved to be a truly monumental recording, containing the title track "Sweet Baby James," "Country Road" and his most enduring hit, the sadly cathartic "Fire and Rain." He followed up on his debut with Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon in 1971, on which he demonstrated his agility in moving between melancholic mementos ("Soldiers," "Hey Mister, That's Me Up On The Jukebox"), pleasant lullabies ("Isn't It Nice To Be Home Again"), and euphoric anthems concerning salvation and freedom ("Let Me Ride," "Love Has Brought Me Around"). Mud Slide Slim was widely considered both an artistic and commercial success, since it also included the major hit "You've Got a Friend," written by good friend Carole King.

On the next four albums, One Man Dog (1972), Walking Man (1974), Gorilla (1975), and In The Pocket (1976), James explored new production aesthetics, using some very well-known singers and studio musicians including Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Art Garfunkel, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn to provide lush textures to his compositions which were anchored by his core band of Leland Sklar (bass), Russell Kunkel (drums), and Kortchmar (guitar). These classic recording sessions yielded the songs "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "Walking Man," "Mexico," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "Shower The People," and "Everybody Has The Blues." In 1976, James released his Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, one of the biggest selling catalog titles of all time, for which he won a Diamond award for ten million plus copies in worldwide sales.

In 1977 James delivered JT, a masterpiece of diversity that featured his signature literate folk sensibility on songs like the insightful "Secret O' Life" and "If I Keep My Heart Out Of Sight," juxtaposed with the syncopated funk rhythms of "Traffic Jam" and "Honey Don't Leave L.A.," and the soul influenced stylings of "Handyman" and "Your Smiling Face." The 1980's saw James' career continue on its brilliant trajectory as he produced one stellar album after another, adding the songs "Millworker," "That Lonesome Road," "Summer's Here," "Hard Times," "That's Why I'm Here," "Only One," "Sun On The Moon," "Never Die Young" and "First of May" to his already deep, varied and cherished library of songs.

James branched out in the 1990's, recording only two studio albums - New Moon Shine (1991) and Hourglass (1997), preferring to trade the studio for the road. James maintained an intensive international touring schedule during which he recorded many of the live performances, resulting in an extremely popular double-disc set that captured the energy, lyrical spontaneity and spirited audience interaction common in his concerts (Live, 1993). James also made guest appearances singing and playing guitar on two Americana records featuring the all-star chamber ensemble of Mark O'Connor, Edgar Meyer, and Yo-Yo Ma (Liberty, 1997; Appalachian Journey, 2000). Lately, the man known for being a consummate wanderer has concentrated on spending more time at home with his wife Caroline and their one year-old twins, Henry and Rufus.

Over the course of his career, James Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards for a timeless catalog running from 1970's Sweet Baby James to 1997's Hourglass to 1998's platinum-selling Live At The Beacon Theatre DVD/VHS release. Taylor's first Greatest Hits album earned him the RIAA's elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the United States. For his extraordinary achievements, James Taylor was honored with the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine's highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement. The year 2000 saw Taylor's induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

James Taylor's music embodies the process of songwriting in its most fundamental art. He transforms introspective meditations into emotionally revealing lyrics, melodies, and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the idea that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments in life are shared by us all.

In 1971, Taylor was featured on the cover of Time magazine, who heralded him as the harbinger of "the singer/songwriter era." In 2002, with October Road, the quintessential singer-songwriter is helping that era crossover into the 21st century.
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