James Taylor – Biography
James Taylor, full name, James Vernon Taylor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 12, 1948. He is the second child to Isaac M. Taylor and Gertrude Woodard. His father was a physician and mother was an aspiring opera singer.
James Taylor’s musical career began in 1966 when he moved to New York City to form a band called The Flying Machine with Joel O’Brien playing the drums and Zachary Wiesner on bass. The band broke up a few years later after a disappointing run and which during that time, James Taylor got hooked with heroin. Out of desperation he called his father who flew to New York, rented a car and brought Taylor back to North Carolina.
James Taylor spent the next six months getting treatment for his addiction and an operation to fix his vocal cords which was damaged from singing too harshly.
In 1967, James Taylor moved to London to start a solo career where he landed himself a contract with Apple records after his demos was heard by Paul McCartney. He became the first non-British artist signed to Apple.
From July to October 1968 Taylor started recording his first album at Trident Studios. Unfortunately, Taylor succumb to his heroin habits once again and had to receive treatment in Britain before returning to New York got hospitalization. His debut album consequently did not fare too well because James Taylor was not able to promote it.
After recovering Taylor moved to California. In December 1969, he recorded his second album Sweet Baby James with Carole King participating. The album was released in February 1970 and was met with huge success.
Both the album and the single reached #3 in the Billboard charts, with Sweet Baby James selling more than 1½ million copies in its first year and eventually more than 3 million in the United States alone.
There was no looking back after that and James Taylor went on to record many more hit albums. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Throughout his career, Taylor won five Grammy Awards.
In 2000, James Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.