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James Taylor earns his first-ever No. 1 album

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe/file 2014/Boston Globe

Earlier this month James Taylor released "Before This World," the troubadour's 17th full-length album — and first disc of original material since 2002. Fans of his storytelling and guitar playing responded in kind; the album moved 97,000 units during the week ending June 21, according to Nielsen Music, and that was enough for the album to hit the top spot on the Billboard 200, which tracks week-by-week album sales.

"World" is the first chart-topping album of Taylor's more than four-decade career; he first appeared on the albums chart in 1970 with "Sweet Baby James," which included his breakthrough ballad "Fire and Rain." In May, the "World" track "Angels of Fenway," which chronicles the Red Sox's 2004 World Series win through the eyes of a long-suffering fan, premiered before a Sox-Yankees tilt at Fenway Park.


Before that game, the Boston-born singer talked about the song, which includes his wife and son on vocals: "That miracle season, that incredible thing that happened, and what it meant to Red Sox fans, the city of Boston, and all of New England, the release that it represented, the long, hard years waiting to get back on top, it moved me deeply." Taylor will return to Fenway for his first full-on concert at the park on Aug. 6.

More coverage:

James Taylor's creativity flows anew

James Taylor plays it safe on new album

James Taylor keeps busy with 'Before This World'

James Taylor premieres new Red Sox song at Fenway Park


Maura Johnston can be reached at maura@maura.com.