Touted as the founder and leading proponent of the “singer/songwriter” trend in popular music, James Taylor is an American legend. Still popular today, his music is often credited for easing the transition from 1960s activism and its attendant frustrations into the less political, more inward-looking 1970s. Known for his introspective, understated style, Taylor’s influence can be heard in the work of countless artists, including Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Taylor’s interest in music started at a young age. As a child he played the cello and by age 12 he picked up his first guitar. His career as a professional musician began in 1968 when he became the first artist after The Beatles to be signed to Apple Records. Since these auspicious beginnings, Taylor has released 22 albums, earned 40 Gold, Platinum, and multi-Platinum records, won 5 Grammy® Awards, an RIAA Diamond award, and a Century Award (Billboard Magazine’s highest accolade).
Throughout his career Taylor has dealt with depression, addiction, and several failed marriages. A large part of Taylor’s success can be attributed to his phenomenal ability to translate personal struggle into thoughtful expressions of shared experience. With hits such as ‘Fire and Rain,’ ‘You’ve Got a Friend,’ ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),’ Taylor’s impact on music has rightly earned him inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2000, James Taylor and Mark Knopfler recorded a duet together called ‘Sailing to Philadelphia’. The song became the title track for Knopfler’s sophomore solo release and appeared on Taylor’s 2002 October Road.