Fire And Reign: James Taylor to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama


When James Taylor steps out into the Fenway Park stage next summer, he’ll do so with our country’s highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Barack Obama named 17 recipients yesterday, and Taylor’s group includes Yogi Berra, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Willie Mays, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim, Itzhak Perlman, and Steven Spielberg. The White House will present the awards on November 24, which, if we’re paying attention to who got snubbed, it should be noted is the same night King Diamond plays the Orpheum Theatre in Boston.

According to a White House press release, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” (Sorry, King Diamond.)


In the same release, President Obama said: “I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor. From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”

Read Taylor’s Presidential Medal of Freedom bio below; next summer, he plays Wrigley Field in Chicago on June 30, then comes to Boston for a June 30 concert at Fenway Park, his second in two years at the famed ballpark. Tickets to the Fenway show go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

As a recording and touring artist, James Taylor has touched people with his warm baritone voice and distinctive style of guitar-playing for more than 40 years, while setting a precedent to which countless young musicians have aspired. Over the course of his celebrated songwriting and performing career, Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums, earning gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards for classics ranging from Sweet Baby James in 1970 to October Road in 2002. In 2015 Taylor released Before This World, his first new studio album in thirteen years, which earned him his first ever #1 album. He has won multiple Grammy awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame.