The embodiment of the American singer-songwriter in the late 60s and early 70s was the frail and troubled James Taylor. He was born into a wealthy family. His mother was a classically trained soprano and encouraged James and his siblings, including future recording artists Livingston Taylor (b. 21 November 1950, Boston, Massachusetts), Alex Taylor (b. 28 February 1947, Boston, Massachusetts, USA), Hugh Taylor (b. 24 July 1952, Durham, North Carolina, USA) and Kate Taylor (b. 21 November 1950, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) to become musical.
The young James Taylor wanted for nothing and divided his time between two substantial homes. He befriended Danny Kootch Kortchmar at the age of 15 and won a local talent contest. As is often the case, boarding school education often suits the parents more than the child, and James rebelled from Milton Academy at the age of 16 to join his brother Alex in a rock band, the Fabulous Corsairs. At only 17 he committed himself to the McLean Mental Institution in Massachusetts to undergo treatment for his severe depression. Following a nine-month stay he reunited with Kootch and together they formed the commercially disastrous Flying Machine. At 18, now being supported by his parents in his own apartment, the seemingly affluent James drew the predictable crowd of hangers-on and emotional parasites. He experimented and soon was addicted to heroin.