James Taylor Covers “Woodstock” on the Howard Stern Show (1997)

James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single “Fire and Rain” and had his first No. 1 hit in 1971 with his recording of “You’ve Got a Friend“, written by Carole King in the same year. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. Every album that he released from 1977 to 2007 sold over 1 million copies. He enjoyed a resurgence in chart performance during the late 1990s and 2000s, when he recorded some of his most-awarded work (including HourglassOctober Road, and Covers). He achieved his first number-one album in the US in 2015 with his recording Before This World.

He is known for his covers, such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “Handy Man“, as well as originals such as “Sweet Baby James“.

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Studio albums

Other appearances

Taylor performing with Vince Gill (right) and Amy Grant (left) at Tanglewood in 2011

  • He provided acoustic guitar accompaniment for several tracks on Joni Mitchell‘s 1971 album Blue.
  • He played the banjo on Neil Young’s “Old Man”.
  • He provided harmony background vocals for George Jones’s 1978 version of Bartender’s Blues. Taylor was thinking of Jones’ style when he wrote the song and it was a thrill for him to get to sing with Jones on it. On the original 1977 James Taylor recording of the song Linda Rondstadt sang harmony.
  • He appeared as a guest musician on Steve Winwood‘s 1986 album Back in the High Life, performing harmony vocals on the song “Back in the High Life Again“.
  • He provided vocals, acoustic guitar on the sixth solo studio album by StingBrand New Day (1999).
  • He provided a guest voice to The Simpsons episode “Deep Space Homer” where he played some of his songs to HomerBuzz Aldrin, and Race Bannon when they were in space. He also appeared later on in the series when the family put together a jigsaw puzzle. His face was the missing final piece.
  • Performed “Second Star to the Right” on Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films in 1988.
  • Taylor performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Game 2 of the World Series in Boston on October 25, 2007, at Game 2 of the 2013 World Series in Boston on October 24, 2013, at Game 1 of the 2018 World Series in Boston on October 23, 2018, at Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals in Boston on June 5, 2008, and at the NHL’s Winter Classic game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins.
  • He appeared on Sesame Street performing the song “Your Smiling Face” although the song was sung “Your Grouchy Face” as he sang it to Oscar the Grouch. He also performed the song “Jellyman Kelly’ on the Sesame Street video compilation Sing Yourself Silly, and the album In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.
  • Has appeared on NBC’s Saturday Night Live six times as a musical guest
  • He appeared on The West Wing where he played Sam Cooke‘s “A Change is Gonna Come“.
  • He appeared on The Johnny Cash Show, singing “Sweet Baby James”, “Fire and Rain”, and “Country Road”, on February 17, 1971.
  • His song “Fire and Rain” was in the movie Remember the Titans and the movie Running on Empty in 1988.
  • He provided vocals for the song “First Me, Second Me” by the Italian band Elio e le Storie Tese.
  • He made his debut for his 24th album Other Covers on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 10, 2009.
  • He appeared on the final of Star Académie, the Quebec version of American Idol, on April 13, 2009.
  • On May 29, 2009, he made a guest appearance and sang “Sweet Baby James” on the final episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno before Leno was replaced by Conan O’Brien.
  • Taylor appeared briefly in the 2009 movie Funny People, where he played “Carolina in My Mind” for a MySpace corporate event as the opening act for the main character.
  • He appeared in 2011 in the ABC comedy Mr. Sunshine as the ex-husband of the character played by Allison Janney; they exchange some sardonic dialogue and then perform a duet of sorts on Leon Russell‘s 1970 classic “A Song for You“.
  • On January 19, 2012 Taylor performed a version of “Carolina in my Mind” with Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.
  • He is mentioned in Taylor Swift‘s single “Begin Again”.
  • On April 24, 2013 he performed at an outdoor memorial service in Cambridge, MA, honoring slain MIT police officer Sean Collier. Officer Collier was shot on the night of April 18, 2013, allegedly by the perpetrators of the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing, who were being hunted by police and federal authorities.
  • On September 6 and 7, 2013, he performed with the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Thirtieth Anniversary O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Gala Concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.He called the choir “a national treasure”In addition to the symphony and choir he was backed by some of his touring band pianist Charles Floyd, bassist Jimmy Johnson and percussionist Nick Halley.
  • In December 2016 Taylor announced that he cancelled his upcoming February 2017 concert in the Philippines. He stated that although “I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.” The cancellation was in protest of alleged extrajudicial killings by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte‘s war on drugs.
  • He performed at the 68th Sanremo Music Festival in Italy in February 2018.
  • “It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)” by Kate Taylor.
  • “City Lights” by Livingston Taylor.
  • “Mockingbird” by Carly Simon.
  • “(What A) Wonderful World” by Art Garfunkel, also featuring Paul Simon.
  • “Glory Train”, “Best Little Girl”, “Northern Boy” & “Relax, Enjoy Yourself” from the Randy Newman album “Faust”.
  • “Our Town” with Randy Newman from the “Cars” soundtrack.
  • “Shine” by Joni Mitchell from the Joni Mitchell album “Shine”.
  • “Life on the Inside” from “Doctor Selavy’s Magic Theatre”.
  • “Put on a Happy Face” with Tony Bennett from the Tony Bennett album “Duets: An American Classic”.
  • “Getting to Know You” from the compilation album “For Our Children”
  • Guest appearance on 2018 album, “Honey Don’t Leave L.A.” by Danny Kortchmar and Immediate Family. Release date and more information is unknown/unreleased as of 4/2/18.
  • He was featured on “Perfect Love” by Marc Cohn on his eponymous debut album.
  • “Sailing to Philadelphia” along with Mark Knopfler on his 2000 album of the same name.
  • On October 23, 2018, Taylor performed the “Star Spangled Banner” at Fenway Park in Game 1 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.

See also