James Taylor is perhaps the most recognizable voice on the planet to any baby boomer as his music helped to define that generation. His easy ballads and folksy sound have been easing our souls for decades, but the man himself remains a bit of a mystery to a great many people. Here are ten things about the legendary James Taylor that you probably did not know:
James Taylor’s father, Isaac, was the Assistant Professor of Medicine at The University of North Carolina. His Tar heel roots began when his Dad had to move to Carboro for the job. Isaac eventually became the Dean of Medicine at the school.
Taylor’s mother was an aspiring opera singer named Gertrude Woodard. Alex, Kate and Livingston Taylor are his siblings and they are all musically inclined in their own right. Music was big in the Taylor household.
James Taylor originally was born and has roots in Martha’s Vineyard. That is a far cry from his eventual Carolina themed musicality.
James Taylor counts Woodie Guthrie, a popular folk singer, among his musical inspirations. He and good friend and fellow musician Danny Kortchmar were big fans of Guthrie’s style and phrasing. Taylor would eventually make his name based largely around his own unique phrasing style and musical timing.
James Taylor suffered many bouts of depression in his life, including a time that forced him to check himself into McLean hospital in Massachusetts. This hospitalization was the beginning of Taylor’s writing career in music, as he penned some of his first big hits there.
James also has fought with drug addiction and his drug of choice was heroine. His heroine addiction nearly took over his life, and dogged him some ways until he was divorced from Carly Simon in 1983. After that, and the death of his friend John Belushi to drugs, he never touched it again.
James Taylor is a huge Barack Obama supporter, and he has performed fundraisers for the President’s initial campaign. He is active in the political world on a regular basis both through music and action.
James Taylor is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2000. He is also in the songwriter’s Hall of Fame. That is an unusual combination reserved for only the most talented of musicians.
Carole King and James Taylor are lifetime friends and musical collaborators. They recorded “You’ve Got a Friend” and received Grammy awards together, and even today are touring and recording together.
Taylor started dubiously, as his initial offering, “James Taylor” did not do well on the charts at all. Ironically some of his eventual hits were on that album, and the songs and LP took off when he found success later in life.
“James Taylor Biography”, bandbiographies.com