The year 2000 saw his induction into both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In February 2006, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected James as its MUSICARES Person of the Year. In September 2008 James Taylor’s One Man Band (2007) was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. The last two years have seen two remarkable releases; Taylor’s One Man Band CD/DVD accompanied by a world tour and his most recent album Covers (2008), which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Covers features Taylor’s full band and is his own musical interpretation of tunes from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
He has sold some 40 million albums throughout his career, which began back in 1968 when he was signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records.
Above all, there are the songs: ‘Fire and Rain,’ ‘Country Road,’ ‘Something in The Way She Moves,’ ‘Mexico,’ ‘Shower The People,’ ‘Your Smiling Face,’ ‘Carolina In My Mind,’ ‘Sweet Baby James,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,’ ‘You Can Close Your Eyes,’ ‘Walking Man,’ ‘Never Die Young,’ ‘Shed A Little Light,’ ‘Copperline’ and many more. Taylor’s songs have had a profound influence on both songwriters and music lovers of all generations and from all walks of life.
James released Sweet Baby James in 1970. It went triple-platinum and spawned his first Top 10 hit, the intensely personal ‘Fire and Rain’. The following year saw the release of another million-seller, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon and the #1 single, ‘You’ve Got a Friend’, written by long time friend Carole King. The recording won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Best Pop Male Vocal. In 1972, Taylor scored another Gold album with One Man Dog, which was followed up in 1973 with Walking Man.
The album Gorilla (1975) included two more major chart entries: ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ and ‘Mexico’. Following his final Warner Brothers recording, In The Pocket, James moved on to Columbia Records and released a string of critically praised and commercially successful albums: JT, his 1977 double-platinum debut, included a Top 10 cover of Jimmy Jones’ ‘Handy Man,’ a song that gave Taylor another Grammy for Best Pop Male Vocal. Flag (1979), Dad Loves His Work (1981), That’s Why I’m Here (1985), Never Die Young (1988), New Moon Shine (1991) and the double-disc Live album (1993), show Taylor’s consistency: all were certified platinum. Hourglass (1998), which garnered James’ first Grammy Award for Best Pop Album, and October Road (2002), another Grammy winner, also enjoyed platinum sales.
James Taylor’s music embodies the art of songwriting in its most fundamental form. He has been at it for decades: transforming introspective meditations into lyrics, melodies and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the sense that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments are a part of life, shared by us all. In 1971, James was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, who heralded him as the harbinger of ‘the singer/songwriter era’. Today, the quintessential singer/songwriter has seen that era crossover into the 21st century.