Growing up in North Carolina, Taylor's first instrument was the cello, but he was hooked by guitar in the early 1960s. He wrote his first song at 14 and teamed up with another young guitarist Danny Kortchmar playing coffee houses under the name Jamie & Kootch. Suffering from depression Taylor committed himself into a psychiatric hospital, an experience which later fuelled some of his best songs, such as Fire & Rain, and he then moved to New York where he formed a band Flying Machine, which played around Greenwich Village. When the band split, Taylor relocated to London where he was signed by The Beatles' label, Apple, and he recorded his self-titled first solo album, including the classic Carolina On My Mind. It wasn't a success and, fighting drug problems, he returned to the States to record his breakthrough album Sweet Baby James. In 1971 he scored his biggest hit with a cover of Carole King's You've Got A Friend and, later married singer Carly Simon. Other hits include Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is and his relaxed style has proved durable into the 2000s.