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Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines: The Life and Music of James Taylor

2.93  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In 1970 a scraggly, antiheroic man from North Carolina by way of Massachusetts began presenting a comforting yet biting new sound. Within a year, when young ears sought the latest in rock, there was "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got a Friend," and a new Southern California-fed branch of pop music. James Taylor was its reluctant leader. 

Remarkably, Taylor has surv
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Chicago Review Press
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Average rating 2.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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Karen Cairns
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author is impressed with his own research. Were no editors available? Not well written and filled with extraneous detail.
Barbara Q
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it
James, James, James....I had no idea you were such a womanizing addict from a wealthy East Coast family. Totally surprised me, but then I was just more AWARE of JT than enamored of him and his music. I knew he was out there, actually went to one of his concerts back in the day but didn't follow his life. Still, some wasted musicians pull through and survive, as he has. There's a lot of gossip and a huge amount of detail in this book but it moves along and I mostly wasn't bored.

That he endured/
...more
Danny
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
It was fascinating to get some insight into the inspirations behind James Taylor's songs, but the author is way too taken with his own opinion and clever wordplay to deliver a decent biography. He pulled the same crap in the Stevie Wonder bio too. Just tell the story about the famous musician dude, and leave your own ideas out of it, Ribowsky!!
James Jackson
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
The book is filled with minutia, which I happened to enjoy quite a lot because my music era coincided with James Taylor's and as a result, I could place all the references in the context of my own experiences at the times. Single line snippets of songs or even titles and artists were enough to bring back to hearing the song in my head, or remembering where I had first heard a musician or song.

Which means, if a book this style had been written about (say) Beyonce, I would be totally l
...more
Nicholas
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The many facets of James taylor

I believe this is an honest account of James Taylor's life. It was a good read it only touched on his relationships with his 3 wife's and the relationship with his children and parents which I would have liked to see more of I go to all his concerts when I can I only wish he would have a better relationship with Carly - she still loves him and some of what he does reflects his efforts to still shun and hurt her She is the mother of his first 2 children Their due
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Karen
May 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lots of detail here, too much, in fact, but I did learn about the background to some of the songs i grew up with and I'm amazed that he could function, much less write, such good ones. The author seemed to be impressed with himself, using multiple words when a couple would have sufficed. However, his use of lyrics to detail some of these songs was nicely done.
David Shetler
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting bio of the singer / songwriter. Amazing that he overcame a very long running heroin addiction and today seems to be living a pretty stable and successful life.
Peter Harland
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A J T fan from 1970, going to Tanglewood for the second time in July, a lost cause to a brilliant musician.
Danielle
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I've loved James Taylor's music for my entire life, but I realize after reading this that I didn't actually know much about his life. While I did learn a lot reading it, this wasn't a very good biography. It didn't feel very cohesive to me and it almost felt like writing a bunch of hearsay. I think partly because I had recently read Warren Zanes' excellent biography on Tom Petty I couldn't help compare the two. This one felt so much more slight than that one. I imagine there are probably better ...more
Kirk Weikart
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This read more like a PhD dissertation than a book. Too much minutiae for my liking. Also, a disproportionate amount of time was spent on certain time periods, while others were given short shrift. While I learned some details, especially about some of the songs, the book drug along a little too slowly and lacked flow.
Siriblake
Good book - James is not a very nice person.
philip heinz
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Mark Ribowsky is the author of seven books, including the New York Times Notable Book Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. He lives in Plainview, New York.
“. . . I don’t like to talk about my songs. It’s self-defeating, it is the antithesis of what a songwriter wants to do. He writes a song so he doesn’t have to talk about it.” 0 likes
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