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|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||March 12, 1948||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Lenox, Massachusetts, USA||Profession:||Music ...|
â¿¿s cultural icons with a performance at the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.ok off much of 1973 to prepare for the birth of his daughter, Sally, who was born in 1974. He began recording sessions for his fifth album, Walking Man, that same month, but despite contributions from Paul McCartney, it too failed to find an audience.
A brief reprieve came with 1975â¿¿s Gorilla, which featured a hit cover of Marvin Gayeâ¿¿s "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You" and the sunny "Mexico," which featured David Crosby and Graham Nash on backing vocals. But its follow-up, In The Pocket (1976) failed to reproduce its success, despite the presence of such all-star guests as Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder and Art Garfunkel. The album also signaled the end of his contract with Warner Bros., which released James Taylorâ¿¿s Greatest Hits at the end of the year. The album, which featured re-recorded versions of "Something In the Way She Moves" and "Carolina in My Mind" due to difficulties in obtaining the original song masters from Apple, became his best-selling release over the course of the next three decades.
Taylor rebounded again with 1977â¿¿s JT, his first for Columbia Records. The album featured a remarkably relaxed, soulful take on the Jimmy Jones oldie "Handy Man," which broke the Top Five on Billboardâ¿¿s Hot 100, and brought him a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Another single, the sunny "Your Smiling Face" landed in the Top 20, which helped to make JT his second best-selling studio album. A Top 20 cover of Sam Cookeâ¿¿s song "Wonderful World" with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel preceded a year-long break, during which he worked on and appeared in a Broadway musical version of journalist Studs Terkelâ¿¿s study of the middle class, Working. The production was short-lived, and Taylor folded his two contributions, "Millworker" and "Brother Trucker," into his 1979 album Flag, which also featured his Top 30 cover of the Driftersâ¿¿ "Up on the Roof." He closed out the year with a memorable duet with Simon of Charlie and Inez Foxxâ¿¿s "Mockingbird," which they performed as part of the No Nukes concert at Madison Square Garden, which was captured in the documentary "No Nukes" (1980).
Taylorâ¿¿s tireless work schedule provided a cover for the turmoil of his personal life. He had lapsed back into drug addiction, specifically heroin addiction, which caused considerable friction in his marriage to Simon. Allegations of physical abuse and lack of solid parenting for his children, which included a son, Benjamin, born in 1977, led to an ultimatum from Simon: either cut back on his touring and recording or face a divorce. Taylorâ¿¿s response was summed up in the title of his 1981 album, Dad Loves His Work. Its melancholy tone was echoed in its hit single, a duet with J.D. Souther called "Her Town Too." Though it reached No. 10 on the album charts, its success was entirely overshadowed by his separation from Simon that same year, with the divorce becoming final in 1983.
Inspired in part by the drug-related deaths of close friends John Belushi and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, Taylor defeated his heroin addiction for good in 1983, and devoted more time to his children while weighing the option of retiring from the music business. But a performance at Brazilâ¿¿s colossal Rock in Rio Festival in 1985 spurred his creative energies, and he responded with Thatâ¿¿s Why Iâ¿¿m Here, a lovely, polished collection of original songs celebrating his mental and spiritual rebirth, as well as a spry cover of Buddy Hollyâ¿¿s "Every Day." That same year, he married actress Kathryn Walker, and began a tradition of launching yearly summer tours that brought longtime fans and first-timers in a familial get-together bound by the warmth of Taylorâ¿¿s presence and his established songs. He recorded sporadically during this period, scoring a minor hit with 1988â¿¿s Never Die Young before earning a platinum disc with 1991â¿¿s New Moon Shine. Critics noted that the "new" Taylorâ¿¿s work had lost much of its youthful angst; instead focusing on nostalgic looks at times gone by or celebrating the innocent pop of his childhood. Listeners responded overwhelmingly to the soothing balm of his voice and words, and by the late â¿¿90s, Taylor had come full circle again, returning back to the top of the charts while enjoying his newfound status as one of popâ¿¿s elder statesmen and best-loved father figures.
Taylor continued to focus much of his energies on his live performances, while carefully honing new material for his albums. In 1997, he scored his first Top 10 album in nearly two decades with Hourglass, a contemplative look back at his troubled past as seen from the perspective of a survivor who felt both amazed and rueful about his present. The alcohol-related death of his brother, Alex, in 1993, weighed heavily on the song "Enough to be on Your Way," and "Jump Up Behind Me" reflected on the long drive from New York to North Carolina taken by Taylor and his father after his bottoming out in 1966. The failure of his marriage to Walker also lent a note of sadness and depth to the album, which won a Grammy for Best Pop Album in 1998.
The new millennium found Taylor more popular than ever as a live act and a recording artist, while his past achievements continued to reap considerable rewards. In 2000, his Greatest Hits collection attained Diamond status for selling over 10 million copies, and was soon followed by Greatest Hits, Volume 2, covering the late â¿¿70s through the mid-â¿¿90s. He closed out the year with inductions into both the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and launched 2001 by marrying Caroline Smedvig, the public relations director for the Boston Pops, with whom he would have twin sons, Rufus and Henry. This wave of joy seemed to inform his 2002 release, October Road, his last for Columbia, which earned two Grammy nominations and platinum sales status. In 2003, the Chapel Hill Museum in North Carolina opened a permanent exhibit about Taylorâ¿¿s life, while a highway bridge over Morgan Creek near the site of his childhood home was named in his honor.
Taylor spent much of 2004 and beyond stumping for various liberal causes, including benefit concerts for John Kerryâ¿¿s presidential campaign. He released James Taylor: A Christmas Album that year through Hallmark Cards, then re-released it in a slightly different form two years later as James Taylor at Christmas through Columbia/Sony; the album earned a Grammy nomination in 2007. His song "Our Town" for the Pixar animated film "Cars" (2006) received an Oscar nomination in 2007, the same year he released One Man Band through Hear Music, a new label owned by the Starbucks coffee company. The album presented some of his best-loved material in a stripped-down format with anecdotes about their creation. Taylor also reunited with Carole King and members of his original touring band, including Danny Kortchmar, for a six-night stint at the Troubadour to celebrate the beginning of their careers in the 1970s, with ticket sales benefiting an array of charitable organizations.
He returned to recording in 2008 with a collection of country and soul covers titled, appropriately enough, Covers, which netted two Grammy nominations and generated a mini-album follow-up, Other Covers, in 2009. That same year, he performed "Shower the People" with John Legend and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland at Barack Obamaâ¿¿s presidential election, and contributed a humorous cameo as himself in Judd Apatowâ¿¿s critically acclaimed feature "Funny People." In 2010, he launched a wildly successful reunion tour with Carole King, which found the pair playing arenas in order to accommodate the extraordinary response from generations of fans who had grown up listening to their music. The following year found him firmly established as one of Americases,
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