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James Taylor
Genre: Country, folk, folk rock, rock, pop
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Awards: 6 Gammy Awards; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee; Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee
Albums: James Taylor (1969); Sweet Baby James (1970); Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971); One Man Dog (1972); Walking Man (1974); Gorilla (1975); In the Pocket (1976); JT (1977); Flag (1979); Dad Loves His Work (1981); That's Why I'm Here (1985); Never Die Young (1988); New Moon Shine (1991); Hourglass (1997); October Road (2002); Covers (2008)
Hits: "You've Got a Friend" (1971); 5 "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" (1975); "Shower the People" (1976); "Handy Man" (1977); "Never Die Young" (1988); "Little More Time with You" (1997);

The soft, relaxing voice of James Taylor has been a mainstay in popular music for more than 40 years, and, at 62-years-old, the North Carolina native remains very popular among both young and old audiences. Ever since his first hit in the late 1960s, Taylor has pleased listeners and the calming crooner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Taylor got his start in music in 1966 when he and two friends formed a short-lived band called The Flying Machine. The band began playing shows throughout New York City alongside other bands such as The Turtles, Loathar, and the Hand People. The band dissolved in late 1967 after about a year of playing gigs, and Taylor decided to try his hand a solo career in London. While there, some of his work was shown to Paul McCartney, who found his work very appealing and he was quickly signed to Apple. Soon after, he was recording his self-titled debut album alongside The Beatles' while they were recording The White Album.

Taylor funneled his experience overseas into the recording of his second album, titled Sweet Baby James. His sophomore album made him a superstar, as it featured a slue of popular hits including what is perhaps his most enduring track "Fire and Rain." The album's second single "Carolina in My Mind" was equally successful, and the album was nominated for a bevy of Grammys, including Album of The Year.

His third album, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, was released in April 1971 and featured several songs where Taylor paired with other folk singers of the day. Joni Mitchell provided backing vocals on the number one song "You've Got a Friend." Along with the top spot on the charts, the song also earned Taylor his first Grammy.

The rest of the 70s saw Taylor continue his initial success, and he collaborated with more of his contemporaries, most notably Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. In the 80s, Taylor experienced personal turmoil that took its toll on his music. He only released three albums that decade, with none of them achieving the success of his previous works. However, his 1997 album Hourglass was certified Platinum and signaled a signifacnt comeback in the gentle-voiced singer's career.

Through a career of ups and downs, Taylor has managed to become a pop culture icon, and with five Grammy's and a legion of faithful fans he has certainly earned it.

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5/28/2015 9:40:03 AM on TCWEB1