Monday 16 January 2017

A Taylor-made catalogue that warms hardest heart

There's a reason why James Taylor has been dubbed the godfather of soulful singing, says Barry Egan

Published 03/07/2011 | 05:00

'It's definitely not about James," Carly Simon told Rolling Stone magazine in 1973 in relation to her then-new husband James Taylor and her famous song You're So Vain. She and the super-sensitive songwriter became Mr and Mrs Simon-Taylor on November 3, 1972.

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According to folklore, Carly mentioned one morning to James in London that she thought they should get married.

"And James was kind of hesitant in his response," recalled Carly. " He said, 'Oh well, there's really no reason to get married. We love each other and we've been living together. And then later on in the afternoon, James said, 'You know I've been thinking about it and maybe we should get married.' I said, "Well, what's happened between this morning and this afternoon?' He said, 'This afternoon it was my idea. . .'"

Sadly, they divorced over 10 years later but for a time they were one of US soft rock's more quirky couples. Sweet boy James is the godfather, some argue, of a certain kind of over-sensitive singer-songwriter out there.

He has given the world some finer examples of poetic introspection and emotion, chief among them: Fire and Rain, Carolina on My Mind, You've Got a Friend, and Handy Man. Watching him sing becomes almost an intrusion upon his privacy, wrote Barney Hoskyns. He brings his intimate -- sometimes too intimate -- brand of soft-soulness to the O2 Arena in Dublin on July 12. There are not very many solo acts who play Harry Crosbie's venue who have graced the cover of TIME magazine. As Rolling Stone magazine said of that distinction: "After Howard Hughes, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who said less to Time and still got his picture on the cover."

"Music is my living," he once said. And it is a good living that has seen him win 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy awards. "I enjoy selling my music. I don't enjoy selling myself. Photographers and reporters are mostly after me. They want to know what I read and what I'm like and I don't really know myself, so how can I tell them?"

He later added: "I'm looking forward to being able to retire from being a public figure and being able to afford to be myself!"

James Taylor & His Legendary Band play The O2 in Dublin on July 12. Tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster outlets or ticketmaster.ie

Sunday Independent

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