James Taylor sold over 100 million records!
It’s 1968, and James Taylor is about to release his self-titled debut. He’s got a potential hit with Carolina In My Mind and he’s been surrounded by none other than The Beatles, being the first foreigner to sign for their new record label Apple.
Seemingly all had fallen into place, very unlikely if you knew his background and how he ended up here.
Prior to recording in a London studio with the Beatles simultaneously working on their White Album, Taylor had crashed and burned in his homeland.
After years with his first band, the Flying Machines had ended and with James falling into heroin abuse, it seemed but all over before it even began.
It had culminated with his dad picking him up, and driving him to rehab. He’d gone back to North Carolina, back to his roots to get grounded.
But here he was, refreshed and about to record his first solo album. He got the deal after playing members of The Beatles his demo tape of Something In The Way She Moves, which would come to inspire their hit Something.
Everything looked right to James, who like most addicts must have thought, I can probably start doing Heroin now!
As he did, he forgot about promoting the album which ended up selling poorly and as if this wasn’t enough, he had a motorcycle accident where he broke both hands and feet.
This was too much for his London-based Beatles-owned label, so they decided to let him go, Warner Bros picked him up and he went to work on his breakthrough album.
James Taylor’s success came when he stopped working with The Beatles!
James’s second album, Sweet Baby James (1970), was a success with his own composition Fire and Rain (1970). It reached #3 in the charts and launched him to the world.
Two other singles, the title track Sweet Baby James, and Country Road helped with sales too which ended up being over 3 million copies in the U.S.
The following year he recorded You’ve Got A Friend, a cover of the Carol King song from the legendary album Tapestry, also released in 1971.
What is so unusual about You’ve Got A Friend is that the two versions were recorded simultaneously, using the same musicians!
Perhaps James got the chance to do this because Carol got the inspiration for it from the song Taylor had just released a year earlier, Fire and Rain.
You’ve Got A Friend would go on and win two Grammy Awards the next year, for best male vocal and song of the year.
His next album One Man Dog (1982) had Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight on it, another James Taylor classic.
This was followed by Walking Man which perhaps wasn’t a flop but didn’t contain any classics either.
Perhaps this sparked the idea to do a cover again as on his next album, the 1975 Gorilla, James covered Marvin Gaye’s How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You). Another original classic was on this one as well in Mexico.
1976 and yet another James Taylor album hits the shelf named In The Pocket, here we get the single Shower The People, another classic to add to the James Taylor hit parade.
The same year James actually released his Greatest Hits album which funnily enough has all the tunes I’ve listed above on it, I didn’t even look until now, it was just so obvious. I can only imagine how short that record company meeting to decide the greatest hits track listing must have been!
Two years later, he released JT and on it, we find his last top ten hit in Handy Man.
Still, with his following now secured, every album released between 1977 and 2007 sold more than 1 million copies.
In total, James Taylor has sold over 100 million copies, the boys in the Beatles must be kicking themselves for letting him go back in 1969.
James Taylor tunes | Related pages
How Sweet It Is
Learn how to play How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye and James Taylor using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recordings.
| F | Dm7 G7 | C C6 | C (C7) |
How sweet it is to be loved by you, yes baby, oh, oh, oh, oh…