James Taylor and The Beatles, the Connection

When you see James Taylor in concert, you’ll be experiencing more than a performance from a great talent.

You’ll be seeing one of the bestselling artists of all-time and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.

You’ll get to hear one of popular music’s best male voices.

You’ll be seeing the man who didn’t invent, but defined and popularized the “singer-songwriter” meme. You know that guy who sings and plays guitar at your local coffee shop? He’s doing James Taylor.

Bottom line, you’ll be seeing a living legend.

James Taylor Carly Simon, Yoko Ono and John Lennon in New York City on January 18, 1977. From http://www.meetthebeatlesforreal.com/2014/09/john-james-carly-and-yoko.html

You’ll also be seeing a performer who has a direct connection to the greatest popular music act the Earth has ever known, The Beatles.

In the late 1960s, drugs, depression, and vocal cord surgery forced James Taylor to seek a change of scenery. The North Carolinian moved to England.

There, he recorded a demo. A friend of a friend was able to get that demo to Peter Asher. At the time, Asher was the head of A&R (artists and repertoire) at Apple Records.

For those of you who don’t know your Fab Four history, that was The Beatles record label.

Asher played Taylor’s demo to Paul McCartney and George Harrison. They loved what they heard and James Taylor became the first non-British artist signed to Apple Records and Peter Asher became his manager. James Taylor has been performing live concerts and making albums ever since.

The Beatles

Taylor recorded what would be his first album in late summer and early fall of 1968. He was recording the album at the same time The Beatles were recording The White Album—no pressure there.

McCartney played bass and Harrison added backing vocals (although he didn’t receive a credit) on Taylor’s classic “Carolina in My Mind.”

During the recording of his debut album, Taylor began using heroin and methedrine… again. He went back to rehab and eventually into a psychiatric treatment facility located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

He was hospitalized when Apple released his album (December of 1968 in the UK and February of 1969 in the United States). Critics loved his debut platter but his inability to promote it, because he was hospitalized, hurt sales.

Then, in late 1969, he broke both hands and feet in a motorcycle accident. Despite the injury, and being unable to perform, he signed with Warner Bros. Records.

His association with The Beatles was over.

There’s another direct Taylor-Beatles connection. One of the songs on the demo given to Paul and George was “Something in the Way She Moves.”

George used the title as the first line of his song “Something.” George’s song eventually went to number one.

Taylor never thought George plagiarized him. He also says the ending of “Something in the Way She Moves” borrows from the ending of The Beatles “I Feel Fine.”

In the words of JT, “What goes around comes around.”

James Taylor in the seats at Fenway Park

It’s not a direct connection to The Beatles but it is a connection to John Lennon and the darkest day in rock history.

In December of 1980, Taylor lived in the building next to John Lennon and heard the five shots fired during the assassination. Even more disturbing, Taylor had a run-in with Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, the day before.