James Taylor's early life was difficult - he was racked with both mental health problems and drug addiction. After recording for The Beatles' label, Apple Records, Taylor returned home somewhat frustrated that the quality of his songwriting didn't translate to sales. Now managed by Peter Asher and having secured a deal at Warner Brothers Records, his breakthrough came with 1970's classic Sweet Baby James, which practically defined the emerging sensitive singer-songwriter movement of the late 60s/early 70s and didn't leave the charts for over two years. Subsequent albums consolidated Taylor's massive success and spawned several hits including Carole King's You've Got A Friend (widely regarded as one of the best versions of the song). Although Taylor's oeuvre became painfully unfashionable over time, the hits continued, though it was somewhat ironic that most were cover versions like How Sweet It Is or Up On The Roof. Taylor's live appeal has never waned, as the once painfully shy young man is now energetic and charismatic onstage, enjoying many tours, and as the 00s dawned he made a dramatic return to form with the outstanding October Road.
Followers: Garth Brooks, James Blunt, David Gray
Influenced By: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Carole King...