Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!
Although Carole King originally wrote and released “You’ve Got a Friend” on her perfect 1971 album Tapestry, James Taylor actually released his own version that year, too. Appearing on Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, Taylor’s interpretation actually became his biggest single and his only No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
Of course, King and Taylor have a storied history together—from first performing together at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1970 and writing together throughout the ‘70s through embarking on the Troubadour Reunion Tour 40 years later.
Taylor’s version of “You’ve Got a Friend” from 1990 is remarkable in its own right. By this point, the balladeer had been playing this song essentially every night for about 20 years. Still, the performance is at once somber and passionate, introspective and collaborative. The fact that he’s gone on to tour and perform it for another 20 years proves the longevity of the melody and sentiment.
Listen to this exclusive version of James Taylor singing “You’ve Got a Friend” from this date in 1990 below.