James Taylor

James Taylor (b. 1948) is an American guitarist and singer/songwriter.

“A self-proclaimed ‘unabashed liberal,’ [James] Taylor’s views have grown from more than 40 years of roaming the globe to perform his confessional songs. Yet they began to take shape during his boyhood in Chapel Hill where…his doctor father, Ike, launched a lifelong crusade for quality health care for everyone, and his New Englander mother, Trudy, was part of a movement to integrate local schools and facilities…. ‘My parents’ commitment to education and public health—to the civil rights movement—was something I was aware of at a very early age.... That kind of altruistic gene is something I’m very proud of. It rubbed off…. Dad promoted socialized medicine back then as a moral calling…. That had an impact….’ The advances weren’t embraced by everyone, including a young Raleigh TV journalist and executive named Jesse Helms…. Helms often referred to…Chapel Hill as ‘Communist Hill’ and UNC as ‘The University of Negroes and Communists.’ He suggested the state build a wall around the UNC campus to prevent ‘liberal views’ from infecting the rest of the state. Medicaid, passed with Medicare in 1965, was a leap ‘into the swampy field of socialized medicine.’ ‘Those early Jesse Helms commentaries made me aware of the political divisions and how counterproductive they can be,’ Taylor said. ‘My father would get incredulous at the politics of fear and division, as opposed to the idea of public service and working together…. I’m not a political scientist or an expert. I’m a singer and basically I write personal stuff. I’m a citizen.”

—David Perlmutt, “James Taylor’s N.C. Roots Shaped ‘Unabashed Liberal,’” Charlotte Observer (3 September 2012)