Wait, didn't Foster the People say that they didn't want to be a one-hit wonder like James Taylor? Didn't they say that "Fire and Rain" was his only hit? How then can a Top 10 list even be warranted? Let's just say that FTP is confused about the original JT.
Sure, Taylor has covered several songs, but he's also responsible for popularizing most of them them and turning them into hits. He's won Grammys for best vocal pop performance for three songs not called "Fire and Rain," and his greatest hits album has sold 12 million copies. That in itself is plenty of evidence to exclude him from the infamous catalog of one-hit wonders and to justify a Top 10 list; never mind his 18 singles that have cracked the Billboard Hot 100, seven of which climbed into the top 20. Here's his best:
- "Fire and Rain" - Well Foster the People did at least reference Taylor's best song, a stunningly beautiful memoir of his good friend lost to overdose. The song transcends any specific instance and empathizes with any listener dealing with loss
- "You've Got a Friend" - Taylor's only No. 1 hit is a cover of Carole King's masterpiece, an ode to true friendship
- "Something in the Way She Moves" - An eloquent song about love that "seems to leave this troubled world behind" and also inspired George Harrison's "Something"
- "Handy Man" - A cover of a song by Jimmy Jones and Otis Blackwell that earned Taylor one of the aforementioned Grammys
- "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" - A great interpretation of Marvin Gaye's hit that charted to No. 1 on the Easy Listening charts and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- "Sweet Baby James" - The titular song of Taylor's most successful album specifically references a lovely, wintry Boston and has provided many a family with a memorable lullaby
- "Mexico" - Hidden within an upbeat advocacy of the inviting warmth of Mexico is a song about running from your problems, and proof of its ineffectiveness
- "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" - A song about the misery of loneliness and a troubled relationship
- "Your Smiling Face" - Quite at odds with number 8 on this list, this song captures the giddiness of young love and the hope that it will last forever
- "Shower the People" - This song is a reminder that life's too short to live it in anguish, as Taylor says, "If it feels nice, don't think twice!"