Covers Of James Taylor Songs
On The Acoustic

Covers Of James Taylor Songs On The Acoustic Guitar

Welcome to my covers of James Taylor songs page where you'll find a collection of demo covers and full lesson tutorials available for a small fee, along with several free chord sheets in .pdf format. Help yourself to the free chords and lyrics sheets.

This page should be more user friendly to have all of the James Taylor famous songs on one page for desktops and mobile devices. I've also added the James Taylor album covers so you know which album each song is located.


Jump links to quickly access the sections.

Carolina In My Mind | Copperline
Everyday | Fire And Rain | Handyman
How Sweet It Is | Mexico | Montana
October Road | Shower The People
Something In The Way She Moves
Suite For 20G | The Frozen Man
Up On The Roof | Wandering

Covers Of James Taylor Songs & Lessons


1. James Taylor Carolina In My Mind

James Taylor wrote this for his debut album about being homesick for North Carolina where he grew up while in England at the time in 1968. The song was not a commercial success but has been played at many concerts over the decades.

Paul McCartney played bass and George Harrison sang backing vocals on this track as The Beatles were recording in the same studio as Taylor.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = the rhythm in the song remains a steady shuffle with a  root up down up root up down up pattern pretty much all the way through. If you watch my right hand in the demo you'll see what I mean
  • Picking = some hammer-ons
  • Chords = D, G, D/Gb, Em, A7, D/Db, Bm, Bm/A, C, E, Esus, A7sus, Dbm, G6
Chords & Lyrics

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2. James Taylor Copperline

Copperline North Caroline is a place where James Taylor grew up as a kid on Morgan Creek Road. The town renamed the local bridge after James Taylor. Reynolds Price co-wrote this song with Taylor.

This song can be found on James Taylor's "New Moon Shine" album from 1991.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret
  • Rhythm = pretty much all arpeggio - get that effect by picking across the strings on the chords
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = D, D/b, G, A7, Em, Bm, D/Gb and an A
Chords & Lyrics

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3. James Taylor Everyday

James Taylor covered this old Buddy Holly song as a track from his "That's Why I'm Here" album from 1985.

Everyday was released as one of three singles and was the highest charting at #3 in the US Adult Contemporary chart.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret
  • Rhythm = play a down down up stop up down up stop up
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = D, Bm, Em, A7, Gbm, Bm, G, A#, C and an A7sus
Chords & Lyrics

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4. James Taylor Fire And Rain

Fire And Rain is a finger-picking song that can be played with rhythm and still capture the essence of the song. James Taylor recorded this one back in 1970 from his second album "Sweet Baby James". He completed the song while going through rehab for depression issues.

There isn't any picking break in this song. I have changed the arrangement and brought the intro back into the ending.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret
  • Rhythm = Once you get past the intro, you'll see from the demo that Im just playing a shuffle rhythm and most of the work is being handled by the left hand with that B string, Gmaj7 chord which stands out and the descending bass line. The noticeable play on this is on the A chord and hammering on of that B string on the 2nd fret.
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = A, D, Em, G, Gmaj7, E, A/Db, Bm
Chords & Lyrics

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5. James Taylor Handy Man

This song hails from 1959 and first recorded by one of the writers, Jimmy Jones. Del Shannon also released a version in 1964.

This is one of those songs that has what we call a signature riff. And it's so simple with a hammer-on the A string 2nd fret to the open D. And yet, any radio station plays 10 seconds of this song and most people will know the song.

James Taylor released his version from the "JT" album in the summer of 1977.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm =  very laid back rhythm song featuring the root up down up root up down up pattern that as you've probably discovered, is not only for country music
  • Picking = some riffs
  • Chords = D, Bm, G, A7, A, Em, Gbm, Bm/A, Dsus
Chords & Lyrics

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6. James Taylor How Sweet It Is

Marvin Gaye first recorded this song back in 1965 and one of the three songwriters got the idea from watching comedian Jackie Gleason who used the line "How Sweet It Is" in every episode of The Honeymooners.

In 1975 James Taylor released his album 'Gorilla" and this song was the lead single from that album and hit #1 on the Easy Listening charts and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. His former wife Carly Simon also sang on the track. 

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm =  uses a down up stop up down up stop up pattern which creates a sort of shuffle feel to it. As you'll see in the demo, there are places where you'll want to do a steady up and down shuffle to simulate a drum roll
  • Picking = There is a sax break in this song but you could either pick out a melody riff or just hummmm your way thru that section
  • Chords = Cmaj7, Am, G, C, Em, D
Chords & Lyrics

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7. James Taylor Mexico

This song, written by James Taylor,  also hails from the 1975 album "Gorilla" and reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 for Taylor. The song makes you think the writer has visited Mexico but we discover that he is only fantasizing about visiting.

Download the free Mexico James Taylor chords below.

Jimmy Buffett also covered this song for his Barometer Soup album in 1995 and James Taylor has included this song on several albums down through the years.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd Fret
  • Rhythm =  some James Taylor songs have a lot of rhythm changes and this is one that's best explained in the lesson. One of the main ones you'll use is a pause up down up and there will be some areas requiring all down strokes. You'll also see some quick shuffle strumming that duplicates the drums
  • Picking = 
  • Chords = D, Bm, A, Em, C, G
Chords & Lyrics

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8. James Taylor Montana

This song Montana hails from the 2015 album by James Taylor entitled "Before This World". The song was released as a single but never charted.

Montana chords and lyrics are below.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = played with a combination of arpeggio and strumming for the first bit - switch over to a root down up down up, root down up down up strum
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = G, A, Em7, A7,  D, A/D, Bm, Bm/A, D/Gb, Gbm, Fdim/Ab, E and a C
  • Just a note: The James Taylor Montana chords sheet shows an A/Dm chord but it should have be A/Db.

Chords & Lyrics

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9. James Taylor October Road

James Taylor released his October Road album in 2002. During the next 13 years his albums consisted of covers of other peoples songs until 2015 when he released his own material once more.

This album reached #4 on the US Billboard 200 and spawned 5 singles, including the title track.


  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = You'll start off in a variation of the E chord and once you begin to sing and start strumming you'll be using a simple shuffle pattern ... but then this song shifts into a root up down up bass up down up and then reverts back to the shuffle
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = E, A, B, Dbm, G, Db, B7, Esus
Chords & Lyrics

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10. James Taylor Shower The People

Shower The People is from the 1974 album "In The Pocket" and topped the Easy Listening Chart. It also hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Carly Simon also sang harmony vocals on this track with James.

James plays this one with a capo on the 3rd fret,  but you can always change that position based on your vocal range.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 3rd Fret
  • Rhythm = another combo of patterns using arpeggio combined with a down down up down during the verse but changes into a shuffle and and some walking bass notes in the chorus
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = D/Gb, G, A7, D, Bm, Bm/A, A7/A#, A7sus, B7
Free Chords & Lyrics Sheet

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11. James Taylor Something In The Way She Moves

This song appeared on James Taylor's very first album back in 1968. He also played this song to Paul McCartney and George Harrison in his attempt to join Apple Records. Harrison of course used this line to write The Beatles hit "Something". 

Tom Rush and Harry Belafonte have covered this song.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 3rd fret
  • Rhythm = is a steady up and down 
  • Picking = blended riffs while strumming only
  • Chords = A, Em, D, G, C, D/C,  D/B,  D/A, Gbm,  Bm, Bm/E and a D/Gb
Chords & Lyrics

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12. James Taylor Suite For 20G

In order to get paid $20,000 in 1970, James Taylor needed one more song to complete his "Sweet Baby James" record, which was his 2nd at the time.

So he strung together 3 unfinished songs into one, and this song is that result.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret
  • Rhythm = pattern is a steady up and down - changes to all down strokes as the song takes on a rock and roll vibe 
  • Picking = Yes
  • Chords = D, Dsus, C, A, A/B, E, G and a Gb
Free Chords and Lyrics Sheet

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13. James Taylor The Frozen Man

James Taylor got inspired to write this song after looking at pictures in a National Geographic article about a man lost on a northern Canadian expedition and found frozen 100 years later. His father being away for two years in the Navy was also part of this songs story.

This song can be found on James Taylor's 1991 "New Moon Shine" album. The song was never released as a single. 

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm =  arpeggio, a root up down up pattern, a shuffle strum and a few places where you'll use down down down up strum
  • Picking = some riffs
  • Chords = D, Bm, Em7, A6, A7, D/Gb, G, Em, Gbm, E7, A7sus, C and an F
Chords & Lyrics

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14. James Taylor Up On The Roof

Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote this song back in 1962 and The Drifters had a top 10 hit with their release. Years later Carole King released a version and James Taylor player acoustic on that track.

In 1978 Taylor released his version and scored a #28 on the charts and hails from the album "Flag". This was James Taylor's last top 40 hit to date.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 3rd fret
  • Rhythm = down down up down down up down up with arpeggio
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = Em, D/Gb, G, A, Bm, Gbm, A7, D, Dmaj7, Bm/A
Chords & Lyrics

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15. James Taylor Wandering

Not much info available about this song except to say that it appeared on his studio album entitle "Gorilla" which was released back in the Spring of 1975.

This song was never released as a single to my knowledge. 

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = combining arpeggio and rhythm the first is a down down up down - then a down down down up where the up is the strum for the most part
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = Gsus, G, C, Em, Asus, A7, Dm, G7,Dm, F and a G7
Chords & Lyrics

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16. James Taylor You've Got A Friend

This is a Carole King song and one she recorded in 1971 for her "Tapestry" album. James Taylor did a version that same year for his Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon album.

Taylor released his version as a single and scored a #1 hit in the US and a #4 in the UK. Taylor offer longtime friend Mary Hopkin from Wales a chance to record the song but she turned it down and she said later it was a huge mistake. She made the song "Those Were The Days" a bit hit.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret = original key
  • Rhythm = you can arpeggio down two notes, then an up down two more notes , then up down up strum and repeat or just strum and forget the arpeggio. That pattern would be down down up down down up down up
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = G, C, Gbm, B7, Am, D7, Dsus4, Bm, F, A7, Am7, Gmaj7,  and a G6 (optional)
Chords & Lyrics

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James Taylor Official Website

Thanks for stopping by my covers of James Taylor songs page and I hope you found what you were looking for. There will be more James Taylor guitar lessons added here over time.



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