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Thank You James

From the Album Weave

A True Story

I was just a young boy with first guitar in hand
The only thing I dreamt of was playing in a band
Hendrix, Purple, Zeppelin I followed with my friends
But I needed something different to satisfy my pen

But when I heard you singing I knew my life had changed
Just a simple tune that sent shivers down my spine
I didn’t have much money but I always found a way
of buying every song of yours that I could find

Thank you James
For being there when I needed a friend
In Mexico we walked through fire and rain
So long ago and far away
Thank you James
For being on that Jukebox all alone
I cried as you were singing your sad songs
But it sure was good, to get home again

I practiced hard and there came a day I was always in demand
From studio to studio to endless touring bands
But all I ever wanted was to play the songs I wrote
but they rejected everything without listening to a note

This Taylor sound is very good
But the market’s much too small
Come back when you’ve something we can sell
Now 30 years and more have past
You’re still selling every day
And you still hold your audience in a spell

Thanks You James
For helping me to go round just one more time
Carolina was always on my mind
Walking down that lonesome road
Thanks you James
How I wish that yours was my town too
But you know that I won’t lie for you
Sweet baby James, I am the man they froze

Thanks you James
It’s good to know that you will not die young
Not a victim of Kelly’s machine gun
On that October road, with sunny skies
Thanks you James
Even though I’ll be lonely tonight
All I have to do is close my eyes
And sing your song of Copperline


Throughout my musical career, the only two artists I can say were my heroes were James Taylor and George Benson. There are many artists that I liked, but those are the only two I give hero status to, although if Elton John or Gregory Porter played guitar, they would also be on the list.

The year was 1976, and I was in great demand as a session musician. Through the sessions, I got to know a lot of record company bosses, so when I finished writing my first few songs, it was easy for me to get the right people to listen to them. Being a big James Taylor fan I wrote in that style, but while they liked the songs, they told me not to waste my time writing that kind of music.
“Disco is the big thing now. If you want to get anywhere these days you have to write disco music,” I was told with great authority.
“But James Taylor is very successful writing in this style,” I replied.
“It’s a very small market, and it won’t last,” were their final words.
I listened to them and proceeded to write some bad songs in styles I had no feel for.

To this day, James Taylor is as popular as ever, and it is difficult to find someone who doesn’t like his music, except of course for the music moguls whose job it is to create lucrative new trends.
Thirty years later, I was entrenched in an acoustic-based style of music where I felt most comfortable, and a few weeks before Christmas 2017, I finished Thank You James, in which I pay tribute to the great man. It was hard work, but I managed to incorporate lines from all my favourite Taylor songs within the three choruses. Everyone loved it, and I knew it was a good song.
I was desperate to get it to James Taylor, but it wasn’t easy, as any message sent through his website goes into a bottomless pit. I finally managed to track down his manager and sent the song to her. She replied, “I will forward the link to James, but he might not reply as he gets so many songs written for him.”
There’s nothing like making your fans feel special, is there.

I always try and think the best of people and hope that James Taylor never got to listen to my song, but after posting it to his many Facebook groups which include members of his family, I find it hard to believe he never heard it. If he did hear it, I find it hard to believe he couldn’t take ten seconds to send a message.

They say you should never meet your heroes, and they are probably right, but despite this unpleasant experience, I would still love to meet him.