Taylor, James Vernon

Taylor, James Vernon, 1948-, American singer-songwriter, b. Boston, Ma. Taylor was born in Boston but raised in Chapel Hill, N.C. As a teenager, he began writing songs and in 1966 formed a band, The Flying Machine. In late 1967, he moved to London where he was among the first artists signed to The Beatles’ newly formed Apple Records; his self-titled album was released in late 1968. He achieved his greatest success beginning in 1970 with the release of Sweet Baby James, producing “Fire and Rain” (#3); the album topped a million sales in its first year alone and earned several Grammy nominations. Other hits in the ‘70s included his cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1; Grammy, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male), Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (1975, #5), “Shower the People” (1976; #22 pop, #1 Adult Contemporary), “Handy Man” (1977; #4 pop, #1 Adult Contemporary; Grammy Award, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male); he also married fellow singer/songwriter Carly Simon in 1972 (they were subsequently divorced in 1981). His later career has seen a few hits (“Never Die Young” 1988; “Copperline,” 1991) while he has continued to release albums and regularly perform, including a successful reunion tour with Carole King in 2010. Taylor was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000, and awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015) and a Kennedy Center Honor (2016).

See biographies by T. White and M. Glazer (2011) and M. Ribowsky (2018).

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