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James Taylor – Photo of the week!

James Taylor – Photo of the week!

James Taylor plays to 250,000 in Central Park Where he endures his share of critical and commercial setbacks. It’s during a slow time in his career. But by the end of the ’70s James Taylor undeniably becomes one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. Also, he caps his remarkable run-on July 31, 1979. During this time, he plays to a huge crowd during a free concert in New York City’s Central Park.

The show is to raise funds and awareness to restore the park’s Sheep Meadow. Likewise, the opportunity comes in the midst of a summer tour to promote Taylor’s ninth LP, Flag, released May 1979. Although it receives lukewarm reviews, Flag extends the chart resurgence. In addition to Taylor enjoys 1977’s Grammy-winning JT record, which marks his migration from Warner Bros. To Columbia Records under the terms of a hugely expensive new contract.

Along with a pair of songs (“Brother Trucker” and “Millworker”) originally written for the stage musical “Working”. Which is based on Studs Terkel’s oral history of 20th century American employment, Flag also includes other covers. Such as, the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the Gerry Goffin / Carole King classic “Up on the Roof”. With “Roof” cresting in the Top 40 and a Showtime special booked. Focusing around his two-night stand at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio’s Blossom Music Center, July of ’79. Which during this time finds Taylor in the midst of a moment.

The Sheep Meadow concert 

He uses it to Central Park’s advantage, putting his name behind an effort to repair Sheep Meadow. After years of hosting major events with very little maintenance, there is a dire need for repairs. According to officials at the time, Taylor’s show drew an eye-popping 250,000 people. Some of whom were surely only there because it was a fun way to spend a free evening in New York City, but still pretty impressive. In more recent years, that number has come under question (as with Paul Simon’s similarly well-attended Central Park performance in 1991, it seems likely that initial estimates may have been fairly high), but whatever the real attendance numbers are, the show worked. In 1980, Sheep Meadow received a much-needed re-sodding, and in 1981, it reopened to the public.

Successful as it is, the Sheep Meadow concert isn’t the most high-profile performance that found the politically active Taylor donating his time and music during this period; he also joins up with an array of other artists (including Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and the Doobie Brothers) to forming “Musicians United for Safe Energy”, a.k.a. M.U.S.E. Which is a series of shows that are collaborations with the No Nukes film and triple live LP.

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Credits:  Photo Credits: James Taylor at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, 1979 Photographer – Sheri Lynn Behr – #WPCC7K

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