Today is "T" day at the "A" to "Z" Blog Challenge. I was unable to post yesterday due to being otherwise engaged with doctor appointments and other stuff that could not be put off. So here is my "T" day blog post.
This artist had a lot of struggles on his way to stardom. His music, however, has left an indelible mark on Rock and Roll. This artist is James Vernon Taylor, also known as Sweet Baby James!
James was born in Boston, MA, on March 12, 1948. His father, Dr. Isaac Taylor, was a doctor at the same hospital, Massachusetts General. His mother, Gertrude, studied singing at the MA Conservatory of Music.
The Taylors moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when James was three years old. James grew up in Chapel Hill. James first learned to play the cello and switched to playing guitar in 1960. James developed his own unique finger-picking style.
The Taylor's summered at Martha's Vineyard where he met an aspiring guitarist Danny Kortchmar. James and Danny listened to and played blues and folk music together. James and Danny played in coffeehouses around the Vineyard during the summer of 1963.
James struggled with depression and signed himself in to a Massachusetts hospital for treatment. He was there for nine months and obtained his high school diploma while hospitalized. James siblings also suffered with depression and were similarly hospitalized for treatment.
James moved to New York City and lived with Kortchmar. They formed a group called The Flying Machine. This group did not achieve much success. During his time in New York James became addicted to heroin. Jame's life cycled downward to the point that he ran out of money and had to call his father for help. His father drove him from New York to Chappel Hill where James was treated for his addiction.
James moved to London, England, in 1967 where he signed with the newly formed Apple Record, the Beatles record company. James recorded his first album in London. This record was noted by a London music critic to be a breath of fresh air, however, the album did not sell very well. During the recording of this album, James relapsed back into drug addiction.
In 1969 James recorded his first commercially successful album, Sweet Baby James. James had a mega-hit from this album the classic Fire and Rain. This album sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone. His next album, Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon, with another mega-hit, the Carole King song You've Got a Friend was released in April 1971.
James has recorded many albums since, each with it's own hit singles. James has struggled with depression and drug addiction from time to time. James has been married and divorced and married again as is not that unusual in the music business. Despite the storms of his life, James continues to make new music, perform at concerts and support mostly liberal causes. James has become a master musician, songwriter and singer and has earned his place in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame to which he was inducted in 2000.