Happy Anniversary: James Taylor, Walking Man
42 years ago today, James Taylor released his fifth studio album, an LP which – although it remains regularly cited as a favorite amongst his fans – remains the only studio album in his catalog that didn’t go gold.
Hang on, don’t go thinking that we’re calling Walking Man a flop: when it was initially released in 1974, the album quickly climbed to #13 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, which is the sort of chart placement that most artists would kill for. Granted, the album’s first single – its title track – wasn’t quite as successful on that front, failing to even find its way into the lower reaches of the Hot 100, but the song “Hello Old Friend” did find prominent placement in the intro for the third game of the 1973 World Series when it aired on ABC. Unfortunately, it didn’t make nearly as much of an impact as the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck immediately thereafter, which interrupted the game and definitely turned into the focus of the evening.
Looking at the credits of Walking Man, probably the most surprising thing about the album’s failure to shift mass units is the fact that Paul freaking McCartney played on it. How on earth did audiences fail to glom onto this record with a Beatle in the mix?
What can we say? There’s just no accounting for taste.