Why We Love James Taylor
James Taylor performing Fire and Rain in 1970 - DavidFarAndWide / Youtube
One of the best-selling musical artists of all time, some people may stop and think about what made James Taylor great. His childhood which had the two faces of a coin contributed much, at least. Switching back and forth from Carolina to Martha’s vineyard, where he spent his summers. Later, Taylor learned about the greatness of music and studied the classical cello, then derived the knowledge to teach himself how to play the guitar. Influenced by the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Taylor started writing songs at the age of 14, singing about his childhood hometowns in a hymn-like fashion.
Dark times came upon James Taylor as well, checking himself at a mental institution, then discovering drugs on his quest for a career in New York. After a dance with death, Taylor managed to keep it together, and started busking while courting record companies at the same time. He caught a deal with the Beatles’ Apple records, and the rest was history. Taylor’s music was gentle yet potent, just like his friend Kortchmar said, “James seemed like the perfect guy for the time. As a young man in his early twenties, his aura was of somebody who was sensitive but not feminine, handsome but not too macho. He had that air of Southern gentility but also the New England look of a fisherman or a farmer.”
This image, along with the quality of Taylor’s music, which always seemed to have a touch of gloom and sadness to it, was effective in capturing the attention of the masses. Psychedelic rock was beginning to wane as Taylor went up the ranks, preaching his southern hymnal blues to a large congregation that moved and swayed with every sad note he played, and sad line he sung. His reserved vocals also contributed much to the overall feel of his music, giving it just the right amount of depression, while reassuring you along the way. Indeed, James Taylor has a way of playing with emotions, as he felt it some time in his life as well.