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Newly single Sheryl helps honour James Taylor

February 6, 2006
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Putting her relationship woes behind her, Sheryl Crow was wearing a big smile as she joined music luminaries at a moving tribute to singer James Taylor. The folk-pop legend, who grew up in North Carolina, was hailed as "an authentic Southern voice" in a ceremony that kicked off Grammy week in Los Angeles.

The powerhouse line-up watching the 57-year-old named MusiCares Person Of The Year included Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Sting.

Sheryl - who recently shocked fans by parting ways with her cycling ace fiancé, Lance Armstrong, after a two-and-a-half-year courtship - stepped up to share memories of attending a James Taylor concern at the tender age of 12. "It was the first time I ever heard 16,000 people sing in unison and I knew I wanted to be a musician," she reminisced. "This is for you James. You changed my life."

To a great roar of approval from well-wishers, she then launched into a rendition of her idol's classic tune Mexico with Jackson Browne.

Later Sting took the audience of 2,200 guests back to the Northern city of Newcastle and the year 1971, describing the moment when, as a 19-year-old, he first came across the folk maestro's music.

"I want to see what all the fuss is about. Within four bars, I realize he's a virtuoso of the guitar," recalled the former Police frontman. "I think, 'I have to change my career. I'll become a player in a punk band.'"

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Photo: ©
The singer had been due to marry her former fiancé Lance Armstrong later this spring. Despite announcing that their engagement is off Sheryl gamely turned out to pay tribute to her hero James Taylor, who became known as one of the "new troubadors" during the SeventiesPhoto: © Rexy
Photo: ©
Sting, attending with wife Trudie Styler, recalled how seeing the legendary folk singer in concert marked a major turning point in his life. "I have to change my career. I'll become a player in a punk band," he decoded after seeing the singer perform at a 1971 gigPhoto: © Getty Images

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