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The best of James Taylor

| Thursday, July 13, 2017, 10:30 a.m.

James Taylor, who is coming to Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena on July 15, has a long and diverse catalog of music. He's given his fans many hits since his triple-platinum breakthrough album "Sweet Baby James" was released in 1970.

Nick DeRiso, who covers rock history for his website, Ultimate Classic Rock, compiled a list of his Top 10 James Taylor songs:

10. "Something in the Way She Moves"


From "James Taylor" (1968)

Recorded for the Beatles' boutique Apple label, this track would become a concert staple once it was stripped down to its essentials. Guests on Taylor's debut album included Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

9. "Everyday"


From "That's Why I'm Here" (1986)

Taylor is an old pro at turning cover songs into radio hits — from the 1971 No. 1 'You've Got a Friend' (written by Carole King) to 1979's 'Up on the Roof' (also written by King with her then-husband Gerry Goffin). This late-period, and sweetly reimagined, Buddy Holly favorite reminds everyone why.

8. "Steamroller"


From "James Taylor Live" (1993)

Originally included on his 1970 breakthrough 'Sweet Baby James,' this fun blues parody really comes to life on the concert version included on Taylor's first greatest-hits package six years later.

7. "Carolina on My Mind"

From "James Taylor" (1968)

Taylor, who grew up in North Carolina, wrote this gentle remembrance while recording his debut album in London at the same time the Beatles were putting the White Album together.

6. "Her Town Too"


From "Dad Loves His Work" (1981)

Taylor collaborated with J.D. Souther and Waddy Wachtell on this song, but the lyrics couldn't be more personal. Arriving as Taylor's marriage to Carly Simon fell apart, the song (as well as the album title) traces a surprisingly dark theme: "She gets the house and the garden, he gets the boys in the band."

5. "Country Road"


From "Sweet Baby James" (1970)

A prototypical stroll through a blissfully pastoral landscape, 'Country Road' seems to serve as a template for everything that would follow. Dig deeper, though, and the song turns out to be about the road that ran by McLean Hospital, where Taylor was treated for depression five years earlier.

4. "Mexico"


From "Gorilla" (1975)

Graham Nash and David Crosby provided backup vocals to Taylor's story of a highly anticipated trip to Mexico that goes wrong because of a nasty case of Montezuma's revenge — supposedly based on a true experience.

3. "Copperline"


From "New Moon Shine" (1991)

Taylor returns to his youth in Carrboro, N.C. in this song. There's even a mention of his childhood dog Hercules playing in an area to the south of Chapel Hill known as Copperline.

2. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"


From "One Man Dog" (1972)

This jazz-inflected, intricately constructed romantic ballad features an intriguing narrative twist: Taylor inverts the typical lovelorn stereotype by having the man portrayed as an abandoned lover.

1. "Fire and Rain"

From "Sweet Baby James" (1970)

After all these years and albums, it remains his very best. A song about overcoming obstacles, perfectly matched for this age of worry, it still resonates as a moment of comfort and encouragement for anyone who's had troubles.

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