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James Taylor: Greatest Hits

4.7 out of 5 stars 354 customer reviews

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Greatest Hits
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Out-of-print in the US. The original and still the best James Taylor compilation, filled with wonderful musical memories of a singer/songwriter at his prime and doing what he does best (which is singing and songwriting if you didn't already know). Perhaps one of the most distinctive voices of his generation, Taylor released some of the finest singles during his '70s heyday and all the best ones are here: 'Fire And Rain', 'You've Got a Friend', 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight', 'How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)' and many more. Whether you heard him on AM or FM radio, he always sounded great and he remains one of the truly gifted interpreters of song. Warner.

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James Taylor's mid-'70s departure from Warner Bros. may be one of the best things that ever happened to the label; otherwise, it might not have been in such a rush to compile his Greatest Hits, one of the company's biggest sellers ever at 11 million and counting. Taylor's style, which all but defines the word diffident, has more backbone than it's often given credit for. Here, as surprisingly complex songs like "Carolina in My Mind" (in a newly recorded version) and "Steamroller" stack up, he sounds like an artist worth spending some time with. At the least, few of his singer-songwriter cohorts came up with a melody as lovely as "Sweet Baby James." --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002KHY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (354 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,507 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As a 14 year old boy, i am expected to listen to Lymp Bizcuit and the terrible music produced today. What a refreshing type of music James Taylor has created; like no other type around, JT's music provides a soothing sound everytime I listen to it. When I'm down it cheers me up. When im too excited it calms me down. It is the greatest CD ever created. With great hits such as "You've Got A Friend", "How Sweet It Is(To Be Loved By You)", "Carolina On My Mind", and "Fire and Rain", James Taylor's Greatest Hits is a must for anyone.
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Format: Audio CD
James Taylor Greatest Hits is a good retrospective even though at twelve songs I think it's a bit too short. They should have added a song or two; but what we do get is excellent material. The quality of the sound is excellent and the artwork is tastefully done.

"Something In The Way She Moves" has a very pretty melody and the guitar and James' singing carry the bulk of the melody. This song is a sweet one that has traces of folk music in it; and the string instruments are very well placed into the musical arrangement. "Carolina In My Mind" features James Taylor front and center--and that's OK with me! The melody is very solid and James sings this with all his heart and soul. Excellent! James' voice is very rich and full of masculine warmth; his uncanny sense of timing enhances his performance even further.

"Fire And Rain" tugs at my heartstrings whenever I hear this torch song; it's all very beautiful and James sings this passionately. James carries this tune well and the piano works well for this love ballad. "Country Road" again places James right in the spotlight--and he doesn't waste a minuet! James delivers "Country Road" with panache and this impresses me greatly. The slight twist of folk and country music elements enhances the natural beauty of "Country Road."

"You've Got A Friend" is probably my very favorite song on this CD; James delivers this flawlessly and the emotion again tugs at my heartstrings because James sings of unconditional and undying love and friendship. The guitar carries the melody well but the other instruments help out, too. James also handles tempo changes effortlessly--although we know that it really wasn't so easy; James could make it seem easy because he is so talented.
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Format: Audio CD
When James Taylor wrapped up his years with Warner Brothers records in 1976, that label promptly issued a greatest hits CD that remains one of the label's biggest sellers. Issued one of the RIAA's earliest "Diamond" certifications, this album has sold over ten million copies and remains available to this day. It's a time-capsule of Taylor's early work, spotlighting the years of sensitive singer-songwriters and his calm, soothing voice.

Staring with re-recorded versions of his Apple Records songs "Carolina In My Mind" and "Something In The Way She Moves" and a previously unreleased live version of "Steamroller Blues," this was Taylor before he became a staple on the summer festival circuit and a cover-er of oldies (although his version of "How Sweet It Is" is included here). There's a lot to be said for the simple pleasures of this collection, be it the warm reading of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" (with Joni Mitchell on back-up vocals, it won Taylor his first Grammy) or the confessional "Fire and Rain."

After this, Taylor would be come more the studious professional that intimate singer-songwriter, continuing to make solid, if predictable soft-rock albums for CBS. There are two best of's since this one, a Columbia round-up on James Taylor's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 and a full on retrospective on The Best of James Taylor (both labels represented, but heavy on the Warners years). The biggest gripe is that this CD has yet to receive a proper remastering, but for the money, it's James Taylor at his best.
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Format: Audio CD
I really haven't much to add to the reviews already written about this wonderful album. I guess what I really love the most about JT's Greatest Hits is that it's one album my Dad and I both really enjoyed. Even though he and I both loved music, there were very few artists we agreed on, and James Taylor was one of them. At the one JT concert I was fortunate enough to attend, there were people from all walks of life just lost in the music. He opened with "Something in the Way She Moves" (as this album does) unaccompanied on acoustic guitar, an excellent rendition of my personal favorite Taylor song. The songlist was essentially: songs from 'Hourglass'; three songs from the album "JT" (Handy Man, Secret of Life, and Your Smiling Face, for anyone interested), and all twelve songs from this recording. All together, the best concert I've ever attended.
There was one review I read which asserted that anyone who had the "James Taylor Live" double CD did not need to purchase this album because every song on 'Hits' was on 'Live' as well. While the latter statement is true, Greatest Hits is still very essential. At least for me, the original studio version of "Fire and Rain" is much more stirring than the 90's live version. I think that's because the studio version was recorded much closer to the event which was the impetus for the song. Also, the version of 'Steamroller' on Hits is THE definitive version of that song. Now that JT has gotten older, his voice has actually gotten better in my opinion. But that notwithstanding, he's never, EVER going to do a better live version of Steamroller than the one on 'Greatest Hits'.
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