Many musicians sing about heartache, despair and confusion, but few have experienced those feelings more intensely than James Taylor, who rose from a privileged childhood as the son of an affluent medical school dean to become a modern-day troubadour and pop superstar. When he was 17 years old, Taylor's personal demons led him to a Massachusetts mental institution where he confronted them the only way he knew how - by writing his first songs. 30 years later, Taylor's songs are among the most popular in the annals of music, but the demons are still with him. This book chronicles Taylor's turbulent rise to fame - from his 10 month stay in the exclusive private psychiatric institution where he finished high school and through his early years as a songwriter mentored by Paul McCartney, to his current status as a pop folk icon. Throughout his life Taylor has battled with drink and drug addiction and suffered frequent bouts of mental illness. Unlike many of his contemporaries who faced similar struggles, Taylor confronted and overcame his problems, emerging as an inspirational figure. "Fire and Rain" traces his remarkable road to recovery, including his troubled marriage to pop star Carly Simon and the premature death of his brother due to alcoholism. This is the first-ever biography of James Taylor.
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Ian Halperin is a musician, the author of Shut up and Smile (also available at Mainstream) and co-author of Who Killed Kurt Cobain? He now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.From Kirkus Reviews:
The turbulent life, loves, and career of pop star James Taylor. With such classic hits as ``You've Got a Friend,'' ``Carolina on my Mind,'' ``Handyman,'' ``Mexico,'' and ``Fire and Rain,'' the venerable Taylor has been one of popular music's biggest stars since the late '60s, when he went to England to begin his recording career. As Halperin shows repeatedly, Taylor, who battled an addiction to heroin and other drugs for years, has not had an easy time of it. His story, however, hardly starts out as the saga of a tortured artist. He was born to Isaac and Trudy Taylor, a happy, loving couple who lived in an upper-middle-class region of Massachusetts, waiting to occupy a great deal of the biographers time. Halperin contends that the younger Taylor's self-destructive habits were inherited by the men in his family (James's older brother, Alex, also suffered from a heroin addiction, which eventually killed him). Halperin, glossing over Jamess normal teenage angst and his isolation from other young people, also makes a case, a much stronger one, that James began his descent into addiction when Isaac began to withdraw from his family. Whatever their cause, Jamess feelings of alienation would lead him into a mental hospital during his late teens. Even after Taylor's first taste of success, with 1970's Sweet Baby James, which landed him on the cover of Time in 1971, he would slip back into battles with drugs and alcohol. According to Halperin, those consistent transgressions into his old ways, together with their mutual jealousies, eventually destroyed his marriage to fellow pop star Carly Simon. Despite the amount of time Halperin spends on Taylor's considerable difficulties, the affection he has for Taylor's music, best exhibited by the interviews with fans that are scattered throughout the book, shines throughout. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Mainstream Publishing, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1840184345