Shower the People – James Taylor – 1976

I can’t help it! James Taylor’s Shower the People is one of my favourite songs, by one of my favourite artists.

defining moments

This week someone commented on seventiesmusic that they found the blog entries were great for evoking memories of bygone days. I agree.

And I guess we all have artists who evoke deep feelings of nostalgia and longing for bygone life-moments. For me, James Taylor is one of those artists. It doesn’t matter which of his songs it is, and it doesn’t matter what year that song is from; when I hear his guitar which is almost as distinctive as his voice, I find myself back in the mid-70s – wonderful years for me.

extreme makeover

I often wonder, if in the 1970s, James could have looked ahead and seem himself as he is today, what would he have thought? I mean, the 70s James was a drug-taking, life on the edge, long-haired, hippy type of guy. The James of the 2010s is in his mid-60s. He’s balding. He tells jokes on stage that sound like they came straight from “Dad’s Joke Book.” But one thing is for certain… …he’s still way-cool!

strange beginnings

James’ journey into music begins at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. A mental facility; James checked himself in there in 1965 suffering from deep depression.

He stayed for nine months. He later said of his mental health struggles,

It’s an inseparable part of my personality that I have these feelings.

James’ siblings and fellow musicians, Livingstone and Kate also spent time in the same hospital.

out and onto the hard stuff

By the late 1960s well-known guitarist Danny Kortchmar had persuaded James to leave the hospital. James moved to New York City. He began to perform with various bands but also developed a taste for heroin and other illicit substances. James would say of this time,

I learned a lot about music and too much about drugs.

have an apple

In 1969 he moved to London. The short story is, he wrote some great songs, cut a great demo, and was signed by The Beatles’ Apple label. He fell back into heavy drug use and was once again forced to seek treatment.

california dreamin’

In 1970 he moved to California. It was there that he finally broke through in terms of musical success. His single Fire and Rain hit #3 on the US singles charts and was followed in 1971 by his first #1 hit, Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend.

In 1976, he released his Greatest Hits album.  It’s since been certified diamond having sold over 12 million copies in the US.


In terms of awards James’ shelves are bending under the weight. They’re holding up five Grammys, five top ten singles and 13 top ten albums. In 2000, he was inducted into both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. In 2004 he was ranked 84th in Rolling Stone’s list of The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

shower the people

Shower the People is not one of James’ best known songs but, if it’s not my favourite, it’s close to it. And so, what a great thing to have heard it, not once, but twice this week!

shower the people fax

  • There’s not much to say about Shower the People. It’s the opening track on James’ wonderful 1976 album In the Pocket.
  • Shower the People peaked at #22 on the US Singles chart in mid-1976. It stayed in the Top 40 for eight weeks.
  • Shower the People hit #1 on the US Easy Listening chart. It was the third of James’ song to reach top place. You’ve Got a Friend did it in 1971 and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) in 1975.
  • Cover versions of Shower the People have been produced by Glen Campbell, Mylon LeFevre, and Babyface.

Shower the People lyrics.

shower the people – james taylor – 1976 – video

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3 Responses to Shower the People – James Taylor – 1976

  1. Miki says:

    Hi – saw and heard him with Carole at the Troubador concert in ’10 – they were both so great with their equally gorgeous voices! His commentary was really enlightening.

    • finnattic says:

      Presume this was the Vector show in Auckland….wished I had gone now mainly to see Carole but with these oldies you never know what sort of show you are going to get.

      • Greg.K. says:

        I ummed and ah’d about that concert – in the end I didn’t go because funds were a little scarce – next time!!

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