He's seen fire, and he's seen rain.
James Taylor (b. 1948) is an American Musician distinguished by his uniquely sweet-sounding voice, and somewhat bland but pleasant folk-rock tunes.
His eponymous first record for Apple Records (1968) did not do well; he subsequently signed onto Warner Bros. Records
and released the album Sweet Baby James
, which spanned the hit singles "Fire and Rain" and "Country Road" and was significantly more successful than his previous album. He followed it up with Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
in 1971, which was another success, producing the hit cover of Carole King
's "You've Got a Friend", and ushered in a more R&B oriented sound which he maintained well into the 70's. His next record, One Man Dog
, was nearly two years in the making and was ultimately a severe letdown; made up of 18 brief pieces, it failed to reach the success of his previous two records. Walking Man
followed in 1974 and did little to change his career. In 1975, he released Gorilla
, an album drastically Lighter and Softer
than his previous materials but which returned him to the success he'd enjoyed earlier in the decade, largely due to the Silly Love Song
hit "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", which featured backing vocals by Carly Simon, his wife at the time. In the Pocket
, the sequel to Gorilla
, followed in 1976, in addition to a Greatest Hits Album
that became the best selling record of his career.
In 1977, Taylor released his first album on Columbia Records
, which spawned the hit "Your Smiling Face" and was a success. This was followed by a rather long period during which Taylor was rather unsuccessful. He ended up divorcing Carly Simon in the early 80's; the title of his 1981 album Dad Loves His Work
came, in fact, from the response Taylor gave to an ultimatum Simon had given him if he wanted their marriage to continue.
Throughout the 90's and 2000's, Taylor has slowly made a successful comeback to the music industry; some of his most recent efforts include New Moon Shine
(1997), and October Road
"You've got a trope":
- Badass Mustache: From the late 60's to the early 80's, he was on-and-off with this.
- Career Resurrection: Gorilla was this in the mid-70's, and from the 90's onward he's been making a comeback.
- Creator Breakdown: "Fire and Rain" was inspired by the suicide of a woman he'd become close to when they were in rehab together. And oddly enough, fans started an urban legend that a completely different one was involved, where his band secretly arranged for his girlfriend to visit him on tour, only for her plane to crash.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His gentle music belies his struggles with depression and heroin addiction as a teen and young adult.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: "Gorilla"
- Greatest Hits Album: Well, there's his aforementioned one from 1976; he also released one nearly a quarter of a century later chronicling his Columbia Records career.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: His 1976 album is distinctly this, only including his name, the album title, and the list of tracks in plan, italic black print over a bland white background. His 2000 one ended up looking nearly identical, albeit with a "2" behind the list of tracks.
- Prematurely Bald: He started balding in the late 70's, when he was around 30.
- Rearrange the Song: He rerecorded "Something In The Way She Moves" and "Carolina In My Mind" for the 1976 Greatest Hits album; these versions ended up becoming better known than those that appeared on his debut.