Why Certain Songs Make James Taylor Weep

Season 5 Episode 506
Aired on 11/29/2015 | CC
After receiving a guitar for his 12th birthday, James Taylor says he never looked back. Since then, this 67-year-old musician has written approximately 170 songs and sold more than 100 million albums.

During his four-decade career, James says he's learned how music connects people on an emotional level. "There are lots of clichés about music, [like] music is the universal language. I think that's actually true," he says. "Generally speaking, I think that when a person hears a major 7th chord, they have a certain relationship emotionally to that chord. You hear a song, and you weep. That's happened to me numerous times before."

While you can't deny the power of his words, James' songs also evoke emotion using physics. "An octave is twice the frequency of the note of the octave below it—that is a physical reality," he says. "So there's something empirically true about music, and that means that it's a relief from the isolation of life."

In the above video, James shares how music connected his audiences after 9/11.

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