James Taylor receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom

Award is nation's highest civilian honor

James Taylor
(Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

WASHINGTON (WWLP) – One of western Massachusetts’ most famous residents will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor Tuesday. Singer-songwriter James Taylor, who makes his home in Berkshire County, will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House. The award is granted to Americans who range from political leaders and diplomats to writers, artists, and entertainers.

“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,” a White House news release states. “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 toOctober 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.”

Other honorees this year are:

  • Yogi Berra (posthumously)
  • Bonnie Carroll
  • Shirley Chisholm (posthumously)
  • Emilio Estefan
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Billy Frank, Jr. (posthumously)
  • Lee Hamilton
  • Katherine G. Johnson
  • Willie Mays
  • Barbara Mikulski
  • Itzhak Perlman
  • William Ruckelshaus
  • Stephen Sondheim
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Minoru Yasui (posthumously)

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