Of all the solo male singers, James Taylor has a voice I could listen to a million times over. It was a time when it was all about the music. Singers did not have to dance or perform or use their sexuality. It was not about cool videos either. There was nothing to distract from the music. It was totally about the strength of the lyrics and the melody. James Taylor just happened to be really good looking too.
Two of my favourite songs include, Fire and Rain, as well as You’ve Got a Friend which was written by Carole King. When you have experienced loss, the lyrics of Fire and Rain become significant. The lyrics resonated very strongly with me.
In 1995 after much speculation about the song, James Taylor revealed that The first part was about his friend Suzanne, who died while Taylor was in London working on his first album after being signed to Apple Records. Friends at home, concerned that it might distract Taylor from his big break, kept the tragic news from him, and he only found out some time later.
The second part details Taylor’s struggle to overcome drug addiction and depression.
The third part deals with coming to grips with fame and fortune, looking back at the road that got him there. It includes a reference to James Taylor and The Flying Machine, a band he briefly worked with before his big break with Paul McCartney, Peter Asher, and Apple Records.
If you’ve never listened to James Taylor’s voice, I hope this is just the introduction. Before B introduced me to Taylor’s music 13 years ago, I can’t believe I went so many years without knowing this brilliance of this singer and song writer.