James Taylor Knocks Taylor Swift from Top of Charts with His First No. 1 Album


James Taylor has scored his first Number One record in his 47-year career. In the process, he’s knocked Taylor Swift—who was named for him—from the top spot.

The guitarist’s latest release, Before This World, sold 97,000 copies in its first week. Released June 15, the album is Taylor’s first offering of new music in 13 years.

Before This World arrives 45 years after his 1970 sophomore release, Sweet Baby James, made the charts. That’s the second-longest wait between an artist making the charts and achieving a Number One album. Only Tony Bennett has waited longer: 54 years—from 1957, when his album Tony reached Number 14, to 2011, when Duets II hit Number One. Taylor’s debut album, James Taylor, was recorded in 1968 for the Beatles’ Apple Records but did not make the Billboard charts.

Taylor’s new album edged out Swift’s latest, 1989, though it seems unlikely to result in any ill will between them. Taylor is a fan and was moved when he heard that Swift’s parents had named her for him.

“She told me that and I was equally flattered,” Taylor said. “You could have knocked me over with a feather when she told me that.”

Before This World features collaborations with Sting and Yo-Yo Ma. Taylor will launch his tour for the album on July 2 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. On August 6, he’ll perform at Boston’s Fenway Park, where he’ll sing the album track “Angels of Fenway,” his song about the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 comeback to win the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series that year, making it their first Series win since 1918.

The video for “Angels of Fenway” is shown below.