James Taylor to Get Medal of Freedom; On ‘Colbert’ Tonight (11/18)

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James_TaylorHe’s been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, won five Grammys, and sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Next Tuesday, November 24th, President Barack Obama will honor the talented James Taylor, age 67, with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House. Along with the Congressional Gold Medal, it’s the United States’ highest civilian honor, presented to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

He’s in good musical company this year – Taylor, Barbra Streisand, composer and West Side Story lyricist Stephen Sondheim, violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, and the Grammy-winning producer-singer couple Emilio and Gloria Estefan are the six musicians among the 17 award recipients.

Other entertainers, athletes and public servants who will be honored are Bonnie Carroll, Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Willie Mays, Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman, William Ruckelshaus, and Steven Spielberg. Posthumous awards will go to Yogi Berra, Shirley Chisholm, Billy Frank, Jr. and Minoru Yasui.

Coincidentally, the date that Taylor will receive his medal is the same day that Carly Simon, his wife from 1972 to 1983, will release her much-anticipated biography, Boys in the Trees, which chronicles the folk-rock power couple’s tempestuous relationship.

And it will be Taylor’s second White House visit in a little over a month. On October 14th, James took part in PBS’s White House concert which included performances by Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Esperanza Spalding and Carol Burnett, among others. A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House premieres Friday, January 8, 2016 at 9 pm ET on PBS stations.

And the writer of the song “Angels of Fenway” (see video below) will return to play the historic Boston Red Sox ballpark next summer on August 3rd as well as Wrigley Field in Chicago on June 30th, with Jackson Browne opening both shows. Tickets are available here.

Don’t miss Taylor on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight (11/18) at 11:35 EST, along with Sharon Stone and Justin Theroux. He’ll also be appearing on Oprah’s Master Class on Sunday, November 29th.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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