Saturday, November 27, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-James Taylor

Artist:James Taylor
Song:You've Got A Friend
Album:The Best Of James Taylor

I guess James Taylor is the prototype for the sensitive singer songwriter. Though his cover of Carole King's You've Got A Friend was not his breakthrough hit, it is his only number one pop hit. His career has had ups and downs and he's still around. But I'm going to focus on his early career. He was born Mar. 12, 1948 in Boston and was raised in Carrboro, NC. His father would eventually be Dean of the University Of North Carolina medical School. Taylor's brothers Livingston, Hugh, Alex and sister Kate are also musicians. The family would summer in Martha's Vineyard and that's where Taylor met guitarist Danny Kortchmar. He would be a key figure in Taylor's early career. They started performing in local coffeehouses as Jamie & Kootch. In 1964, he joined his brother Alex's band The Fabulous Corsairs and they released a single. Taylor's poor grades in school led to depression and a stay at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. After his recovery, he went with Kortchmar to New York City and formed The Flying Machine. But Taylor started using heroin and became unreliable. The band recorded one album and split up. His habit got so bad that he called his father who got him into rehab. After his recovery, he moved to London in 1967 and played clubs as a solo act. One of his demos got into the hands of Peter Asher Of course he was one half of Peter & Gordon and was A & R head of The Beatles new label Apple Records. He signed and released an album. But he relapsed and eventually went back into rehab in New York. The album didn't sell because Taylor couldn't promote it. Apple was having problems anyway and Asher left and took Taylor with him. Apple could have sued Taylor but Paul McCartney wouldn't do it. Taylor suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. While recovering, he signed with Warner Bros. with Asher as producer and Kortchmar as lead guitarist. His album Sweet Baby James was a big seller and Fire And Rain reached # 3 on the Billboard hHot 100. But it wasn't until his second Warners album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon that Taylor would get his only #1 hit with his cover of Carole King's You've Got A Friend. He wrote most of his own songs. He won a Grammy for that song. Taylor continued to have success even after he left Warner Bros. for Columbia in 1977. Of course this has been tempered by his continuing struggles with drugs. He still does well on the Adult Contemporary charts and his latest CD Covers was released on Hear Music in 2008. This 2003 Warners comp is a good intro to his music. Here's James Taylor performing You've Got A Friend 1971.

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