The Beatles influenced many musicians who listened to the band and fell in love with rock music. However, not every artist was fortunate enough to be next to the band during a recording session. That’s precisely what happened to James Taylor, and being next door to The Beatles led him to write a song of his own.
James Taylor wrote ‘Carolina In My Mind’ after The Beatles made him homesick
Taylor moved from New York to London to pursue his music dreams at just 19 years old. The risk paid off for him as Apple Records signed him after Paul McCartney and George Harrison heard a few of his songs. Taylor was now in the same universe as The Beatles, the biggest musical act in the world.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Taylor said he was working on his first album while The Beatles were recording The White Album nearby. Listening to the fab four made him homesick, and he wrote “Carolina In My Mind” as a response.
“I was making my first album at Trident Studios in London, just as the Beatles were recording The White Album nearby,” Harrison said. “I realized how lucky I was to be listening to the Beatles playbacks and watching their process in the studio, but at the same time that I was surrounded by this holy host of my absolute idols, I missed my home in North Carolina. This captured that feeling of being called away to another place.”
George Harrison found inspiration from a James Taylor song
One of Harrison’s best songs he wrote for The Beatles was “Something”. It was the only Beatles song Harrison wrote that reached No. 1 on the charts, and many consider it one of the best love songs ever. The guitarist said he hit writer’s block searching for lyrics until he heard Taylor’s “Something in the Way She Moves”.
“I could never think of words for it,” Harrison said. “And also because there was a James Taylor song called ‘Something In The Way She Moves’, which is the first line of that. And so then I thought of trying to change the words, but they were the words that came when I first wrote it, so, in the end, I just left it as that, and just called it ‘Something’.”
In the book Hearts of Darkness: James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, and the Unlikely Rise of the Singer-Songwriter, Taylor said he never thought The Beatles’ guitarist intended to rip him off, so he let it slide.
“I never thought for a second that George intended to do that,” Taylor said. “I don’t think he intentionally ripped anything off, and all music is borrowed from other music. So completely I let it pass.”
How did ‘Carolina In My Mind’ perform on the charts?
“Carolina In My Mind” was the second single released by Taylor from his 1968 self-titled debut album. While the track received critical praise upon its release, it didn’t perform well on the charts. It peaked at No. 118 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 64 in Canada. Many still considered it a great song; Taylor just wasn’t a big enough name at the time.