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Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines: The Life and Music of James Taylor  by Mark Ribowsky

Published by Chicago Review Press (June, 2016)

In 1970 a scraggly, antiheroic young man from North Carolina by way of Massachusetts began presenting a comforting new sound, a kind never heard before. Within a year, when young ears sought a new sound, there was “Fire and Rain” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” and a new Southern California-fed branch of pop music. Taylor was its reluctant leader. Remarkably, Taylor has survived: his 2015 release, Before This World, edged out Taylor Swift and went to #1 on the charts. Today he is in better physical and probably mental condition than during the whirlwind when he influenced music so heavily, the decade when magazines and newspapers printed feverish stories about his gawky hunkiness, his love affair with Joni Mitchell, his glittery marriage to Carly Simon, his endlessly carried-out heroin habit, and sometimes even his music. Despite it all, Taylor has become the nearest thing to rock royalty in America. Based on fresh interviews with musicians, producers, record company people, and music journalists, as well as previously published interviews, reviews, and profiles, Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines is the definitive biography of an elusive superstar.

"Based on fresh interviews with musicians, producers, recording executives and music journalists, this book is intended to be Taylor's definitive biography. Ribowsky is especially effective weaving Taylor's career into the complex story of the music industry's evolution." -The Washington Post

Mark Ribowsky is the author of 10 books, including Howard Cosell, Whiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars: The Fast Life and Sudden Death of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry and the New York Times Notable Book Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines, including High Times, Penthouse, and Playboy. He lives in Clearwater, Florida.