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James Taylor Long Ago and Far Away: His Life and His Music

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In this major biography, the lateTimothy White explores both the career and the troubled personal journey of the legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor. This new edition has been updated by his friend and former Rolling Stone comrade Mitch Glazer and includes an epilogue about the memorial concerts for Timothy that James Taylor helped organize.


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In this major biography, the lateTimothy White explores both the career and the troubled personal journey of the legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor. This new edition has been updated by his friend and former Rolling Stone comrade Mitch Glazer and includes an epilogue about the memorial concerts for Timothy that James Taylor helped organize.

30 review for James Taylor Long Ago and Far Away: His Life and His Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    OK. Let me be honest. I love James Taylor, his music and his anecdotes. I met him once at a concert when he came down into the audience during an interval. Being a song nerd I adored the details regarding the origins of songs and the contemporary history. However, I am not sure that I needed to know about the family history. I cannot see how it really adds anything to rest of the biography, as interesting as it was. I believe that the title of the book should include a reference to his family histo OK. Let me be honest. I love James Taylor, his music and his anecdotes. I met him once at a concert when he came down into the audience during an interval. Being a song nerd I adored the details regarding the origins of songs and the contemporary history. However, I am not sure that I needed to know about the family history. I cannot see how it really adds anything to rest of the biography, as interesting as it was. I believe that the title of the book should include a reference to his family history. I must confess that my initial thoughts about the book were somewhat disappointing; I am so happy that I stuck with it though as it improved markedly as it progressed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Oconnor

    White spent a bunch of time on the details.. It would be very interesting to anyone who likes to know the origin of each song, what stage of his life it was written in.It was way more than I could take in, but interesting to hear who he hung with over the years (the Beatles, Paul Simon, Belushi).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cathie

    In this history of the Taylor family and JT in particular, the author relies on personal interviews with many of the key players over about 30 years. It's well researched and fairly well told. Descriptions of recordings get a bit too detailed -- who played each instrument on each song, and the musical history of each of those players, for example. But it was easy to skip over those details and continue with the narrative. With that much detail, the book could have gone into the various instrumen In this history of the Taylor family and JT in particular, the author relies on personal interviews with many of the key players over about 30 years. It's well researched and fairly well told. Descriptions of recordings get a bit too detailed -- who played each instrument on each song, and the musical history of each of those players, for example. But it was easy to skip over those details and continue with the narrative. With that much detail, the book could have gone into the various instruments JT has played, but perhaps that's to be found in another book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    A great read for JT fans. It gets a little....ok, a lot...gradiose at times. But it's fun to put good music in the context of what was happening in the artist's life at the time. A great read for JT fans. It gets a little....ok, a lot...gradiose at times. But it's fun to put good music in the context of what was happening in the artist's life at the time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mosley

    I love James Taylor and love his music, but this book was hard to push through. It's got more detail than kept me interested and it's taken me 7 months to plow through it. Not light reading, and a pretty sad story about a messed up life growing up with a broken family, and two broken marriages, drugs, alcohol, suicide and many other heart-breaking scenarios. Kudos for James for coming clean from his addictions and recognizing that his absent father was actually there at the most crucial point in I love James Taylor and love his music, but this book was hard to push through. It's got more detail than kept me interested and it's taken me 7 months to plow through it. Not light reading, and a pretty sad story about a messed up life growing up with a broken family, and two broken marriages, drugs, alcohol, suicide and many other heart-breaking scenarios. Kudos for James for coming clean from his addictions and recognizing that his absent father was actually there at the most crucial point in his life. If you get through the book, you will know every detail of every song he ever wrote and every album he produced. I often had to stop reading to go listen to the actual song to remind me what they were talking about. I still love his music!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Allan Heron

    I've never been a great follower of James Taylor but I was inspired to read this book as a consequence of reading David Browne's Fire And Rain which focused on 1970 via some artists eyes of whom Taylor was one. Some of the other reviews questioned the significant focus on Taylor's family background - it goes back 400 years to Montrose, Scotland - but this seems absolutely critical to the overarching tale being told here. Of course, the bittersweet conclusion with the author's death as the book was I've never been a great follower of James Taylor but I was inspired to read this book as a consequence of reading David Browne's Fire And Rain which focused on 1970 via some artists eyes of whom Taylor was one. Some of the other reviews questioned the significant focus on Taylor's family background - it goes back 400 years to Montrose, Scotland - but this seems absolutely critical to the overarching tale being told here. Of course, the bittersweet conclusion with the author's death as the book was ready for publication adds a further twist. The book just takes us to the early noughties. It does leave a certain desire to find out more about the ongoing Taylor family history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Strukel

    I was inspired to reread this after listening to James Taylor’s “Breakshot” on Audible. I read it years ago but hadn’t retained much. My only complaint about this terrific, well-researched, thorough book is that it was published almost 20 years ago, so there are more James Taylor albums and tours and years of life that are not covered here.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jane Grove

    Our epic hero, now we know his background etc. He is the reason we played assemblies in H. school and continued piano accompanying. well researched and easy read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steve Sartorius

    A long tedious read. First many chapters focuses on family ancestry centuries back. When history finally catches up James's life it gets more interesting. The book is certainly well researched but it is extremely detailed to a fault when it gets to breaking down so many of his songs. Things are better when it focuses on James and the many issues he has had throughout his life. He is an extremely interesting artist and I am glad I read the book but it seemed like I had just climbed a mountain whe A long tedious read. First many chapters focuses on family ancestry centuries back. When history finally catches up James's life it gets more interesting. The book is certainly well researched but it is extremely detailed to a fault when it gets to breaking down so many of his songs. Things are better when it focuses on James and the many issues he has had throughout his life. He is an extremely interesting artist and I am glad I read the book but it seemed like I had just climbed a mountain when I finally finished it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Lea

    I am crazy about James Taylor and began this read eagerly. The first 70 or so pages are dedicated to family history......I mean history. Back 200 years and more. Interesting to a degree. But, I bought the book to read about James the musician. There was a lot of info that could probably be gleaned from album jackets. And the e-book did not include the photos and maps. The latter would have made the lengthy history more interesting. Still, even with those criticisms I loved this book. Though I pu I am crazy about James Taylor and began this read eagerly. The first 70 or so pages are dedicated to family history......I mean history. Back 200 years and more. Interesting to a degree. But, I bought the book to read about James the musician. There was a lot of info that could probably be gleaned from album jackets. And the e-book did not include the photos and maps. The latter would have made the lengthy history more interesting. Still, even with those criticisms I loved this book. Though I purchased it as an e-book I plan to get a hardback.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tina Schumann

    A biography of great depth (sometimes a bit too much historical detail) regarding JT and the Taylor clan. Timothy White and JT were friends and that love and respect shines through. Each chapter title is the title of a JT album. The retrospective approach to the narrative really took me back as well. Like all humans, JT is a complicated, layered personality, but his talent is true and his intellect wide. Timothy White was an exceptional writer and music historian who we lost too soon.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great book, thoroughly enjoyed! Heavy on the details about his music. Good amount of old family history, but could have used a bit more about him. Felt like his mental illness and relationships were just glossed over, although there was a lot about his strained relationship w his father. In any case, glad I read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Giff Zimmerman

    The parts of this book that are actually about James or his life or music, are pretty good, and worth reading. But at least half of this book is spent wandering maddeningly into distant irrelevancies. So ultimately it was a disappointment. I love James' music, and he is a fascinating character; but after reading this book I still hunger to know more about him, and particularly his music. The parts of this book that are actually about James or his life or music, are pretty good, and worth reading. But at least half of this book is spent wandering maddeningly into distant irrelevancies. So ultimately it was a disappointment. I love James' music, and he is a fascinating character; but after reading this book I still hunger to know more about him, and particularly his music.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Neil Denham

    Sadly the author was more interested in Taylors ancestry rather than his life. By the time james was born I had lost some patience with the book, then parts of his life are skipped over in just a few paragraphs. His life post 1984 is hardly dealt with at all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vikki

    This is James Taylor's biography! It was so very good. The author was the editor of Billboard etc. There was so much about music. I read this until 3:45 am one Saturday night. (not like me at all) This is James Taylor's biography! It was so very good. The author was the editor of Billboard etc. There was so much about music. I read this until 3:45 am one Saturday night. (not like me at all)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ken Shelton

    Great book about JT

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I love him, so I would like to know more about him.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Hawley

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  20. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Miller

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Reinhart

  23. 4 out of 5

    john t cole

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Cloutier

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Ryfa

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Gleason

  27. 5 out of 5

    Haew Kt

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth A.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

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