The five-time Grammy winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Songwriters Hall of Famer, James Taylor, looks back on an illustrious, long-standing career. The American musical multi-talent shot into the limelight with his hit single “Fire and Rain” from 1970, which culminated in third place on the Billboard Hot 100 and also earned him his first Grammy nomination.
Taylor is also known for his hit cover versions of popular songs, including his first No. 1 hit “You’ve Got a Friend” (1970) and Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (1974). 14 of the singer’s more than 30 albums have achieved either platinum certification or higher, and with over 100 million albums sold worldwide, James Taylor is, without doubt, one of the most bankable artists of all time.
James Taylor’s Bio, Age
James Vernon Taylor was born on March 12, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of the singer Gertrude (née Woodard) and the doctor Isaac M. Taylor in a wealthy family with Scottish roots. He grew up together with 4 siblings: Alex, Livingston, Hugh, and Kate. The family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina when James was a child.
Taylor became interested in music at an early age, and after experimenting with different instruments, he eventually settled on the guitar. As a teenager, he formed the music duo “Jamie & Kootch” with his up-and-coming guitarist colleague Danny Kortchmar. During his last year of high school at Milton Academy, James Taylor fell into a depression and in 1965 he was admitted to McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. During his 9-month stay at the institution, he finally completed his high school diploma.
He moved to New York, where he formed the music group “Flying Machine” together with his old friend Kortchmar, bassist Zachary Wiesner and drummer Joel O’Brien. The band performed regularly and also recorded several songs, most of which were written by Taylor. However, Taylor fell into heroin addiction, followed by a series of bad career decisions, all of which culminated in the breakup of the band. Taylor was able to get clean with his father’s help, and he returned to the music scene as a solo act in 1967.
James Taylor moved to London in late 1967, and with the help of his friend Danny Kortchmar he got a record deal with Apple Records. While his music career continued to flourish, Taylor soon fell back into wild female and drug rituals. His debut album James Taylor (1968) was unable to reach its full commercial potential because he was in rehab at the time of release and was unable to promote it.
He got a contract with Warner Bros. Records in October 1969, after which he moved to California. In February 1970, the talented singer released his first hit single “Fire and Rain” as well as the album Sweet Baby James, which made it to number 3 on the Billboard charts. This marked the beginning of one of the most successful musical careers of his generation, which continues to this day. James Taylor also received his first Grammy Award nominations in 1970 for the album Sweet Baby James and the hit single “Fire and Rain”.
James Taylor surpassed the success of his album “Sweet Baby James” with several other follow-up releases. The talented singer has also broken free from heroin addiction and has had a steady career for almost 5 decades. In addition to his immense commercial success and other awards, James Taylor has received 5 Grammy Awards from 18 nominations.
James Taylor is currently married to his nearly two-decade-old wife Caroline Smedvig, a former director of public relations for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The couple met in 1995 when Taylor performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra. They were married on February 18, 2001, in a ceremony at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston. They have 2 children together. Barely 2 months after the marriage, the couple welcomed their first offspring. Their twin sons Rufus and Henry were born through a surrogate mother on April 5, 2001.
Before his present marriage, James Taylor was married twice. On 3 November 1972, he married his musician colleague Carly Simon. During their marriage of more than 10 years, they had two children together. They welcomed their first child, their daughter Sarah Maria Taylor, on 7 January 1974. Their second child, their son Benjamin Simon Taylor, was welcomed on 22 January 1977. James Taylor and Carly Simon divorced in 1983.
Taylor was also married to the theatre, television, and film actress Kathryn Walker. The duo married on December 14, 1985, in New York at St. John the Divine Cathedral. Taylor credits his second wife Walker for helping him get rid of his heroin addiction. However, their relationship ended in divorce in 1996.
James Taylor has 4 children and a steadily growing number of grandchildren. His first two children Sally and Ben dragged their famous father’s way into show business. Sally Taylor is a singer, songwriter, and social activist. Her brother Ben is also a musician and actor. Ben and Sally Taylor often work together with musicians. However, the younger Taylor children Rufus and Henry have not shown any interest in music so far.
Other Facts About James Taylor
Each of James Taylor’s siblings Alex, Livingston, Hugh, and Kate has been involved with music at some point in their lives. Each of them has also recorded studio albums.
Taylor was the first non-British artist to be signed to Apple Records, the label founded by the Beatles.
The cult singer’s most successful album to date is his 1976 Greatest Hits album, which received Diamond (over 10x platinum) certification. All of Taylor’s albums released between 1977 and 2007 have sold at least 1 million copies each.
James Taylor was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) in 2000. In 2010 he was honored by the then US President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Arts of the United States. In 2015 Taylor also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.