Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: In HarmonyReleased: 1980
This song was written by James Taylor in the living room of his home in 1979. The music was inspired by a poem written by his five-year-old daughter, Sarah Maria Taylor, the artist better known as Sally Taylor.
As James sat down in the living room of his house with his guitar, In walked little Sally with a poem she'd written while in school one day. The teacher had asked students to write poems about their favorite cartoon characters. Sally decided to write a poem about a cheerful, bouncy little clown-like character whose name was Jellyman Kelly. Jellyman Kelly is a sunny, funny, bouncy little man whose favorite thing in the world is the one and only, Jelly! His partner is Jenny Mulhenny, the daughter of a fireman, whose favorite thing to do is boil hot water.
When she was finished writing, Sally came home and sat down on the sofa with James, and read her poem to him. After she was finished reciting her poem, James exclaimed, "Sally Taylor! That's a very interesting poem! We ought to put those words to music!" Within a half an hour, James composed a cheerful, bouncy little guitar melody for the song that would become one of his biggest hits.
This song was used on the 1980 "In Harmony" special of Sesame Street
, where James Taylor, his brother Livingston, sister Kate, daughter Sally, wife Carly Simon, and her sister Lucy, along with several other artists, were invited to perform many songs for children. Songs from the special were released on an album called In harmony