James Taylor

2016 James Taylor

If you look up singer-songwriter in the dictionary, you can expect to see James Taylor pictured nearby. With his introspective songwriting, understated singing style and acoustic guitar, he was the calm of the '70s.

In 1968, one year after the split up of The Flying Machine, Taylor went to London where he signs a record deal with Apple Records (the Beatles' label). In November, James Taylor is released in the UK, with little succes. Taylor decides to return to the states, where th album is repackaged for a 1969 release -- the same year that he signs a record deal with Warner Brothers, where he will stay untill 1976. 1970 saw Sweet Baby James, which lands the number one spot; the album will be a bestseller for the next two years.

All but one of his regular album releases for the rest of the century went gold or platinum, while his 1976 Greatest Hits album achieved a diamond certification reflecting sales of more than ten million copies. In 1976, Taylor leaves Warner Brothers to go to Columbia Records.

In 1978, Taylor wins a Grammy for the song "Handyman." Later that same year, Taylor records a song with his wife, Carly Simon (married from 1972-1982).

Despite his consistent draw as a concert attraction, Taylor had never released a live album in the U.S. until the August 1993 appearance of Live, a two-CD set that went platinum within months. Columbia Records, which had never had a Taylor compilation to promote, trimmed the album down to a single disc of hits for the 1994 release Best Live. His next album, Hourglass , released in May 1997, demonstrated his continuing appeal by entering the charts in the Top Ten. On February 25, 1998, it won the 1997 Grammy for Best Pop Album.

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