James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North Carolina. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor signed his first recording contract with Apple Records, where he released his self-titled debut album to the United Kingdom the same year and to the United States in 1969, where it peaked at #62 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. After overcoming a drug addiction, Taylor released his second album “Sweet Baby James” on Warner Bros. Records in 1970. Its lead single "Fire and Rain" became a significant international hit and gained Taylor his first major exposure as an artist.
In April 1971, Taylor released his third studio album “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon,” which became his second album to certify multi-platinum in sales by the RIAA, and featured his first number one single "You've Got a Friend". In 1972 and 1973, he released his fourth and fifth studio albums “One Man Dog” and “Walking Man” respectively, both of which peaked within the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 albums list.
After releasing more albums between 1974 and 1976, Taylor signed with Columbia Records and issued “JT” in 1977, which peaked in the Top 5 and sold over two million copies in the United States, certifying two times multi-platinum by the RIAA.
In 1979 and 1981, Taylor respectively released “Flag” and “Dad Loves His Work,” which both certified platinum in the United States and produced Top 40 singles. Nearly four years later, Taylor's next studio album “That's Why I'm Here” was released and spawned a cover of Buddy Holly's "Everyday", which only became a minor hit in the United States.
This was followed by “Never Die Young” three years later and then by “New Moon Shine” in 1991, both of which sold over one million copies. After recording a two-disc live album in 1993, Taylor returned in 1997 with a fourteenth studio album entitled “Hourglass.” The album not only peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, but also received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Album the following year.
His fifteenth studio release “October Road” was issued on August 13, 2002 on Sony BMG and certified platinum by the RIAA. After recording a limited release holiday album in 2004, Taylor released his first major-release holiday album, “James Taylor at Christmas” on October 10, 2006.
“One Man Band” was released in 2007 and certified gold in the United States, which was followed by Taylor's first cover album in 2008 on the Hear Music label. It was followed-up by a sequel extended play entitled “Other Covers” in 2009.
In the United States alone, James Taylor has sold thirty three million records according to the RIAA.