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Her Town Too by James Taylor and J.D. Souther

Album: Dad Loves His WorkReleased: 1981Charted:
11
  • James Taylor and J.D. Souther wrote this song with Waddy Wachtell, a guitarist known for his work with Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon. The song tells the story of a woman who finds herself living alone after a breakup with her man, and has to deal with the small town gossip. Many people speculated that the song was doubly autobiographical: Taylor's marriage with Carly Simon was ending, as was Souther's relationship with Linda Ronstadt. Taylor and Souther refuse to say who they were singing about, which we found out when we posed that question to J.D. in 2011. When we asked if he'd like to reveal her identity, his reply was, "Of course not. You think after all these years suddenly I'd rat somebody out?"
  • There are some clues that this is about James Taylor's divorce from Carly Simon. Taylor's ongoing problem with drug use led to their divorce, as did spending more time on his career than with her. This is indicated in the lyrics: "She gets the house and the garden/He gets the boys in the band." The title of the album, Dad Loves His Work, could be another reference to the martial breakup. (thanks, Ken - Louisville, KY)
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Comments: 7

james taylor has the greatest voice in popular music history. john david souther has been associated with some of the greatest musicians in american music history including the eagles. the souther hillman furay didn't quite live up to david geffen's dream of the next csn. I don't pretend to have any clue as to the marriage breakup of carly and james, but james taylor and jd souther would be a great combo for an album. peter, chazy, ny (way upstate)Peter - Chazy, Ny
Sheila Weller's recently published book "Girls Like Us" about Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King explains that "Her Town Too" was written by James Taylor and J D Souther for Betsy Asher. She and Peter (Peter & Gordon) had a rather messy divorce and the song detailed Betsy's emotional vulnerability during this time. You'll find the explanation on pages 429 and 430.J - Toronto, Canada
WOW! Amazing song! James Taylor just has that sound ya know?Michelle - Wilmington, De
This song always struck me as being about how people around a breaking up couple always seem to insist on choosing sides. "Some of them his friends, some of them her friends, some of them understand" is especially clear on this. I always appreciated that aspect of it, but especially when my wife and I split up some years ago. All of "our" friends turned out to be MY friends, and cut her off completely. It was a very sad time for her. I was glad for the support from my friends, but I felt bad for her. About the only person who supported her in the whole business was, ironically, myself.Dennis - Anchorage, Ak
Souther had a hit of his own in 1979 titled "You're Only Lonely". It sounded like something Roy Orbison might have written.Charles - Charlotte, Nc
While the song may indeed have been inspired by Taylor and Souther's dissolving relationships, the story it tells seems almost to be that of the other party.

The song is about a small-town woman whose marriage is ending (by the third verse, it is legally over). While it is never explicitly said, it seems implied that the marriage ended through infidelity on her part (thus, all the lyrics about her being at the center of rumors, while her husband appears to escape scuttlebutt unscathed, or being afraid to leave her house). At the end, her husband and children have left, and she's alone in her house. It's then that it's clear that Taylor and Souther have been singing from the POV of another observer: someone who has watched the entire scenario unfold, and appears to still care for and accept the woman for who she is. While it's possible that this is the "other man", that to me seems highly unlikely; to my mind, it seems much more plausible that this is yet another man, a longtime male friend who has loved this woman for a long time (thus "you never know till it all comes down that somebody loves you").
At least, this is how it appears to me. Your mileage may vary.
Kei - Salem, Or
Apparently, prior to Dad Loves His Work's release, Carly Simon was incensed with James for concentrating on touring and recording, as opposed to spending time with her and their kids. She gave him an ultimatum: cut back on the recording and touring, or I walk. The alhum's title was his answer, and they divorced the year after its release.Kei - Salem, Or