Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wusses of the (music) world

Blender magazine came out with a list of the 25 biggest wimps in music history. (Warning: Link includes a bit of R-rated language.)

We bring this to you today because of the Carolina angle. Somebody you know (and many of you love) sits at the top of the list -- our own James Taylor.

I wrote about JT back when I was the Observer's music writer, saying I was starting to enjoy him as I got older. I don't leap to change the station when he comes on anymore.

But I can't argue much with this.

Add comments, make impassioned defenses, and nominate other weenies below. (How did Seals and Crofts not make the list?)


Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with James Taylor being considered a musical lightweight. But of course consider the source... perhaps the authors of this list are of the genre who idolize artists who make a lot of incoherent noise and strive to include as many obscenities in their "songs" as possible. To each his own, I suppose. I am a 30-something mom, so I know I'm not considered "hip" or "cool" in anyone's sight, but JT's melodies themselves get to me, along with the topics of his songs. I guess those of us with a few more miles on us can relate to lyrics that lament "I always thought that I'd see you again.."

Anonymous said...

The list isn't ranking musical "lightweights" it's ranking the persona of the artists and the content of their lyrics. James Taylor is talented, but his songs are no where close to being controversial.

Anonymous said...

Tom - Technically JT is not 'one of our own' he was born in Mass
and grew up in Chapel Hill. We love him anyway because he has southern connections and he writes his music with some Carolina influences. In any case it's always interesting to see how the creators of these lists 'keep score'. There must be quite a good market for JT's brand of 'lightweight' music since
he has many gold and platinum discs
continues to write and perform & has been since the 60's and has 5 grammy's to his credit. The most recent just two years ago.
I'm sure he's loosing a lot of sleep over making this list. Another example of 'sensationalism' to draw attnetion to their web site...which you Tom, have successfully done :)

tommy tomlinson said...

a little sensationalism never hurt anyone :)

Anonymous said...

Where's Prince on this list? Where's Michael Jackson? Where is Liberace? James Taylor could kick all of their *%!@#.

Anonymous said...

JT may have belonged on the list, but not ahead of Bread or Dan Fogelberg. Remember that lawsuit against Judas Priest for causing a teen suicide? Maybe someone could sue these top 25 wusses for turning men into wimps in the 70's! At any rate, if you examine the tone of the critics, you must admit they have no shortage of smugness themselves.

Anonymous said...

This topic doesn't deserve comment, as it is musical ignorance. JB

Anonymous said...

I disagree as well-- the guy has at least dropped the F-bomb in one or more songs, recorded Steamroller (have ya heard it?), and spent a somewhat considerable time as a junkie. Maybe not all that smart, but certainly not wussy... I think it's way off base.

Anonymous said...

Not many can hold a candle to Prince or Liberace. Those guys rock in their own way.

Prince does R&B, rock, reggae, jaz, and anything else that he has tried.

Liberace just dazzled millions.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for J.T.!

In Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, where I play most of my music these days, a soothing, reassuring, yet stirring and evocative James Taylor guitar chord is only a few blocks away as all the best acoustic guitarists in the bands I work with love to follow James's lead in stylizing their guitar accompaniment to their own original songs plus their favorite covers, which of course include plenty of great JT classics.

My main guitar compadres--David Spencer of Cobalt Blue, Bruce Emery of the Emery-McKnight Duo and Billy Cleaver of Cleaver Smith Swenson & McKnight--all appreciate and emulate James Taylor's approach to acoustic guitar-playing and "balladeering" with no apologies whatsoever!

We made sure we mentioned Sweet Baby James in our newly released CSSM folk-jazz song about New England entitled "Autumntime in Massachusetts," which includes the lines:

"It's harvest time in Massachusetts--

"There'll be goodies in the basket from Pittsfield to Old Cape Cod.

"It's music time in Massachusetts--

"The Pops will put on James Taylor and 'Sheherazade.'"

So for us, James Taylor ranks right up there with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and we hope some of the great musicians in the Charlotte Symphony feel the same way. Just like Doc Watson fits right in there with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
George Hamilton IV can make you sway just like Johannes Brahms, and Arthur Smith can pick his way through a mid-summer night's porch party as adroiitly as Felix Mendelssohn.

We even thought of naming our band in honor of James's brother Livingston, who has done so many great songs for and about North Carolina. We were thinking of calling ourselves: "Living Room Taylor."

So "in my mind, I'm going to Carolina," Massachusetts, or wherever James Taylor is playing his next concert unless of course we stop off first to hear his sister Kate Taylor singing her great mix of rock and country somewhere in New York or Rhode Island.

So my advice to my musician friends in Charlotte is to shower your friends with love and JT tunes.