Copperline

Album: New Moon Shine (1991)

Songfacts®:

  • Copperline is an area near Chapel Hill in North Carolina where James Taylor grew up, and the song is a nostalgic look back at his childhood, complete with a mention of his dog, Hercules. Taylor visited Copperline before he wrote the song, and discovered that pre-fabricated homes had popped up in the area, destroying it's charm. He sings about this in the lyrics, "I tried to go back, as if I could, all spec houses and plywood, tore up and tore up good."
  • Morgan Creek, which Taylor mentions in the song, is on Morgan Creek Road, where Taylor's childhood home was located. In 2003, the Morgan Creek Bridge was renamed the "James Taylor Bridge" in a ceremony celebrating the singer.
  • Taylor wrote this song with Reynolds Price, who was a professor of English at Duke University, and also a playwright, author and lyricist. Taylor met Price when he worked on the score for a 1982 PBS production of a play Price wrote, and the two became friends. The two wrote "Copperline" when Price was visiting Taylor's home in Connecticut. Price died on January 20, 2011 at age 77.
  • Speaking with Rolling Stone in 2015, Taylor said: "This is another song about home, about my father, about a childhood that was very peaceful, which is a rare thing today. I felt like I was part of a landscape in those days - the trees, the streams and the rivers, the animals that lived there."

Comments: 2

  • Frankd from Reseda, CaGreat song and maybe another lyric in Sandy's comments. The farms and ranches of our childhood are all covered with asphalt and concrete now.
  • Sandy from Enterprise, FlOne of my all-time faves. How cool that JT wrote an evocative song about something so many of us feel, but never gets said. How many people re-visit their childhood home, only to find it "tore up, tore up good?" Ah, progress in America! More shopping malls, more subdivisions, more roads, more 7-11s, more of everything but less open space, less childhood play, less water, less woods, less peace, less quiet. All in the name of "growth." Which simply means, political greed.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Shaun Morgan of Seether

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.

Real or Spinal Tap

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

Jimmy Jam

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.