If anyone is worthy of the title “icon,” it’s James Taylor. The 68-year-old singer-songwriter has brought us some of the greatest songs in rock history, including his number one hit “You’ve Got a Friend.”
Although Taylor had been performing since 1966, he didn’t get his big break until 1970. That is the year he released his folk rock single “Fire and Rain,” which changed the course of his career forever. “Fire and Rain” peaked at the third spot on the charts, instantly placing Taylor in the spotlight.
It’s a spotlight that’s never stopped shining on him ever since. He now has five Grammy Awards to his name, and was recently selected as an honoree at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
Taylor had been to the Kennedy Center Honors once before, but as a performer instead of an honoree. In 2002, he joined bluegrass artist Alison Krauss to perform “The Boxer” as part of a tribute to honoree Paul Simon. But on Tuesday (December 27) it was Taylor who sat back and watched other artists pay tribute to him.
One of the artists who honored Taylor with a musical performance was pop/rock/country singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow. The moment was particularly meaningful for Crow, since she has always considered Taylor to be one of her biggest influences.
To honor Taylor’s incredible career, Crow sang a lovely rendition of “Fire and Rain” along with Taylor’s band, the Section. Taylor beamed with pride as Crow took to the stage, wearing a long, flowing black dress with gold detail.
We couldn’t think of a better artist to pay tribute to Taylor with “Fire and Rain.” Crow’s soft, slightly raspy voice naturally lends itself well to the song’s folksy style. The song also gave Crow the chance to show off her range, as she powered through high and low notes alike.
The camera cut to show Taylor at several points during the performance. Every time it did, he could be seen with the biggest grin on his face. It’s clear that he was touched by how brilliantly Crow performed his breakout hit.
At the end of her performance, Crow blew a kiss in Taylor’s direction and placed her hands over her heart, mouthing “I love you,” to him. Taylor soared to his feet in response, thanking Crow with the standing ovation she more than earned.
Tune in below to watch Crow pay tribute to one of the most iconic musicians of our time with “Fire and Rain.” We’ll never be able to get enough of this performance!