James Taylor – A Chronology

Try to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and assume that they have as deep, meaningful and compelling a life as you do, and you feel compassion for that. – Rolling Stone, April 26, 2016

MARCH 12, 1948

Born in Boston Massachusetts, 2nd of five children.
Brother Livingston born; family moves to Chapel Hill, NC.
James begins attending Milton Academy.
Meets guitarist Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, where they win local Hootenanny contest.
Joins older brother Alex’s rock band, the Fabulous Corsairs, for length of one school term (age 16).
Moves to New York City.
Joins Greenwich Village-era band with Kootch, the Flying Machine.
The Flying Machine breaks up.
Moves to Notting Hill Gate section of London; records a demo tape of early compositions; auditions for record companies there.
James Taylor solo album released in U.K. produced by Peter Asher (formerly of “Peter & Gordon”) on Apple Records, the very first “outside” act signed to Beatles’ label.

Photo: Peter Asher

Photo: Henry Diltz

Photo: Peter Simon

James Taylor album released in U.S. via Apple/Capitol.
Signs with Warner Bros. Records; moves to California with Peter Asher and begins recording a new album.
MARCH 1970
Sweet Baby James album released, produced by Peter Asher; reaches #1 on all charts and is a best-seller for over 2 years.
MARCH 1971
Stars in his first movie, “Two Lane Blacktop,” co-starring
Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and Warren Oates.
MARCH 1, 1971
TIME magazine cover story and in-depth article.
APRIL 1971
Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon album released, produced by Peter Asher; certified RIAA platinum million-seller.
February 1972
N.A.R.A.S. Grammy Awards – “Best Pop Vacal Performance, Male” for “You’ve Got A Friend”  (for which Carole King also receives “Song Of The Year” Grammy).
November 1972
One Man Dog album released, produced by Peter Asher (backup includes Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, and Taylor siblings, Alex, Hugh and Kate).
November 3, 1972
Marries Carly Simon.
January 7, 1974
James’ first child, Sarah Maria “Sally” Taylor is born.
June 1974
Walking Man album released, produced by David Spinozza.
May 1975

Photo: Norman Seeff

Photo: Norman Seeff

Gorilla album released, produced by Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker, certified RIAA gold.
May 1976
In The Pocket album released, produced by Titelman and Waronker, certified RIAA gold.
November 1976
Greatest Hits album released, certified RIAA platinum (Warner Bros.).
December 1976
New recording contract signed with Columbia Records.
January 22, 1977
James’ second child, Benjamin Simon Taylor is born.
June 24, 1977
JT first Columbia album released, produced by Peter Asher in six weeks of sessions at Sound Factory in Los Angeles certified RIAA platinum.
August 1977
Produces, plays guitar, and sings on sister Kate’s first Columbia single, remake of Betty Everett’s 1964 hit “It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song).
February 1978
N.A.R.A.S. Grammy Awards – “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male,” for “Handy Man”; Peter Asher wins “Producer of the Year” Grammy.
May 4, 1978
Kate Taylor album released (Columbia; see August 1977 entry; James produces, plays, sings (and composes one song, “Happy Birthday Sweet Darling”).
July 20, 1978
Working original cast, album released (Columbia Masterworks); Broadway musical based on Studs Terkel book includes treatments of James Taylor songs “Millworker” and “Brother Trucker” (his original versions appear later on Flag and “Un Mejor Dia Vendra”).
April 26, 1979
Flag album released, produced by Peter Asher, certified RIAA gold.
September 19-23, 1979

Participates in all-star “No Nukes” concerts for ‘a non-nuclear future’ at Madison Square Garden, organized by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy); shows filmed and recorded.
December 1979
No Nukes all-star 3-LP album released (Asylum), certified RIAA gold.  James heard on 6 tracks – with Doobie Brothers and John Hall (“Power”), with Carly Simon and Graham Nash (“The Times They Are A-Changin'”), with Carly (“Mokingbird”), with the Doobies (“Takin’ it to the Streets”), and on his own (“Captain Jim’s Drunken Dream,” “Honey Don’t Leave L.A.”).
July 18, 1970
No Nukes feature-length movie opens in New York City; includes aforementioned album performance plus “Stand and Fight” by James, (co-written with Jacob Brackman) studio version to appear later on Dad Loves His Work album.
September 24, 1980
In Harmony, all -star Sesame Street album released, featuring the Taylor family and Simon family kin on almost all tracks; “Jelly Man Kelly” co-written by James and daughter Sarah, with James on lead and background vocals and guitar.  (In Harmony wins Grammy for “Best Children’s Recording” at N.A.R.A.S awards, Feb. 25, 1981, at Radio City.)
February 26, 1981
Dad Loves His Work album released, produced by Peter Asher.
May 13, 1981
“Starfleet/Blair Presents James Taylor Live in Concert” from Atlanta Civic Center; broadcast on over 50 US stations.
September 4, 1981
Videotapes role as truckdriver in PBS-TV production of Working; sings “Brother Trucker.”  Set for spring ’82 telecast.
Divorces first wife, Carly Simon.
Musical director for the movie Smooth Talk.
January 12 & 14, 1985
James plays the “Rock In Rio” festival, Rio de Janeiro.  Band: Dugmore, Payne, Shlosser, Sklar, Butler and McCuller.
October 17, 1985
That’s Why I’m Here album released, produced by James Taylor and (engineer) Frank Filipetti.  Aforementioned single-sides and originals complemented by cover of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”  Guests include: Joni Mitchell, Don Henley, Graham Nash, David Sanborn, Brecker Brothers, and Deniece Williams.
December 14, 1985
James and Kathryn Walker get married at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine in New York City.
January 1988

Never Die Young released.
James Taylor (James’ 1969 Apple debut album) re-released by EMI.
September 24, 1991
New Moon Shine released.
August 1993
James Taylor (LIVE) released (more than 1 million copies sold).
March 12, 1993
James’ brother Alex suffers a heart attack on March 7, 1993, in Sanford, Florida, while recording a third album at King Snake Records Studio. He died without regaining consciousness on March 12, 1993 (James’ birthday), age 46.
James voiced himself on The Simpsons – Season 5 episode “Deep Space Homer”, singing for astronauts (including Homer Simpson) on a space shuttle mission.
He was voted 21st in IGN’s “Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances”.
June 1994
James Taylor (Best LIVE) released (contains subset of LIVE).
Honorary doctorate of music from the Berklee College of Music, Boston.
April 12, 1995
Performs at Rainforest Action Network benefit at New York’s Carnegie Hall with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Paul Simon, and others.
May 7, 1995
Receives an honorary doctorate of music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and gives a commencement speech.
August 30, 1995
Performs rare joint concert with Carly Simon on Martha’s Vineyard. Dubbed “Livestock 95” since it was a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.
Divorces second wife, Kathryn Walker.
November 1, 1996
James’ father, Dr. Isaac Taylor, dies. He was 75.
May 6, 1997
James inducts Crosby, Stills and Nash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
May 20, 1997
Hourglass released. Opens and peaks at #9 on the Billboard charts with more than 70,000 copies sold in the first week.
June 25, 1997

Performs on A&E television network’s “Live By Request.”
Son Ben Taylor records his debut album, “Green Dragon, Name a Fox” with producer Arif Marden, but when the Sony-owned Work Group label folds the album
is shelved.
Wins “Best Pop Album” Grammy for Hourglass.
May 30, 1998
Performs at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. Concert is broadcast live on U.S. public television stations and is later released on video as “James Taylor: Live at the Beacon Theatre.”
September 7, 1998
Daughter Sally releases debut CD, “Tomboy Bride.”
October 1999
Two-Lane Blacktop is re-released on video and DVD.
Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
March 6, 2000
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney presents his award.
November 7, 2000
Greatest Hits Vol. 2 released. Covers James’ Sony/Columbia career and contains no new material.
Grammy Awards; Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”.
February 18, 2001
Marries longtime girlfriend Caroline “Kim” Smedvig in a small ceremony in Boston. They met while Smedvig worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
April 5, 2001
Twin sons Henry and Rufus are born.
Wins “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male” Grammy for his performance of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” on Michael Brecker’s “The Nearness of You” album.
August 13, 2002
October Road is released.
October 18, 2002
Appears on CMT channel’s “Crossroads” in a joint performance with the Dixie Chicks.

Wins “Best Country Collaboration With Vocals” Grammy with Alison Krauss for their performance of “How’s the World Treating You.”
The Chapel Hill Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina opened a permanent exhibit dedicated to James. At the same occasion the US-15-501 highway bridge over Morgan Creek, near the site of the Taylor family home and mentioned in Taylor’s song “Copperline”, was named in honor of James.
April 8, 2003
The Best of James Taylor is released. It includes John Sheldon’s “Bittersweet” as its only new track.
George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, UCLA Spring Sing.
Ranked 84th in Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
November 1, 2004
James Taylor: A Christmas Album is released and sells over a million copies.
December 1, 2004
Appears on the TV series “The West Wing” (NBC) as himself.
Grammy Award-sponsored MusiCares Person of the Year. At a black tie ceremony held in Los Angeles, musicians from several eras paid tribute to Taylor by performing his songs, often prefacing them with remarks on his influence on their decisions to become musicians. Artists include Carole King, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Sheryl Crow, India.Arie, the Dixie Chicks, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, and Keith Urban. Paul Simon performed as well, although he was not included in the televised program; Taylor’s brother Livingston appeared on stage as a “backup singer” for the finale, along with Taylor’s twin boys, Rufus and Henry.
October 2006
James Taylor At Christmas is released.
November 2007
One Man Band is released.
September 2008
Covers is released.  Grammy nominated album of cover songs from the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s.
October 19–21, 2008
James performed a series of free concerts in five North Carolina cities in support of Barack Obama’s presidential bid.
Honorary Doctorate of Music from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
April 2009

Other Covers is released.  Bonus material companion to Grammy nominated Covers.
Inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
January 1, 2010
James sang the American national anthem at the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, while Daniel Powter sang the Canadian national anthem.
March 7, 2010
James sang the Beatles’ “In My Life” in tribute to deceased artists at the 82nd Academy Awards.
May 2010
Live At The Troubadour is released.
September 11, 2011
James performed “You Can Close Your Eyes” in New York City at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
November 22, 2011
James performed “Fire and Rain” with Taylor Swift at the last concert of her Speak Now World Tour in Madison Square Garden, as well as her own song, “Fifteen”. Then, on July 2, 2012, Swift appeared as Taylor’s special guest in a concert at Tanglewood.
Received the Montréal Jazz Spirit Award.
Named “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Ministry of Culture & Communication of France.
October 29, 2013
The Essential James Taylor is released.  The first 2CD anthology of James’s biggest hits and greatest songs.
Emmy Award for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents an Evening with James Taylor.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
June 16, 2015
Before This World is released.  After a 45-year wait, James earned his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. The album arrived on top the chart of July 4, 2015.
October 10, 2015
James’ mother, Gertrude “Trudy” Taylor, dies peacefully and comfortably in her sleep at her home.  She was 92.
James was among the distinguished recipients of the 39th Kennedy Center Honors.