James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948)
Is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies.
Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers) were released.
James Taylor was born at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on March 12, 1948, where his father, Isaac M. Taylor, was a resident physician. His father was from a well-off family of Southern Scottish ancestry. His mother, the former Gertrude Woodard, studied singing with Marie Sundelius at the New England Conservatory of Music and was an aspiring opera singer before the couple's marriage in 1946. James was the second of five children, the others being Alex (1947–1993), Kate (born 1949), Livingston (born 1950), and Hugh (born 1952).
In 1951, when James was 3, the family moved to what was then the countryside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when Isaac took a job as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. They built a house in the Morgan Creek area off of what is now Morgan Creek Road, which was sparsely populated.
James would later say, "Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people." James attended public primary school in Chapel Hill. Isaac's career prospered, but he was frequently away from home, either on military service at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland or as part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica during 1955–1956. Isaac Taylor later rose to become Dean of the UNC School of Medicine from 1964 to 1971. The family spent summers on Martha's Vineyard beginning in 1953.