After five decades, James Taylor hits number one in US

James Taylor performs on June 15, 2015 in New York (AFP Photo/Stephen Lovekin)

New York (AFP) - Nearly half a century after his debut, folk rocker James Taylor finally has a number one album on the US chart.

The 67-year-old singer-songwriter's new album, "Before This World," opened at number one on the Billboard chart, selling 98,000 copies or the equivalent in downloads and streaming, according to the Nielsen Music tracking service.

Taylor's first, self-titled album came out in 1968, and he has since had 11 albums enter the top 10, but never hit the top spot.

"Before This World," Taylor's first album of new material since 2002, marks a return to his brand of nostalgic, guitar-driven folk rock.

Song topics range from baseball on "Angels of Fenway" -- an ode to the Boston native's beloved Red Sox -- to the scars of war in "Far Afghanistan."

The title track of the album features pop veteran Sting.

Taylor has enjoyed a comeback especially since his critically acclaimed 1997 album "Hourglass," in which he explored his troubled family life.

His popularity has also been aided by his collaboration several years ago with pop superstar Taylor Swift, who reputedly was named after him.

Taylor has long enjoyed a following in liberal circles and has been politically outspoken, especially on the environment.

Despite Taylor's long wait for the number one spot, Billboard said that he did not set a record.

Taylor first entered the top 10 with album "Sweet Baby James" in 1970, meaning it took 45 years to reach number one.

The record is held by crooner Tony Bennett, who waited 54 years to reach number one with 2011's "Duets II," which showcased him singing with female singers including Lady Gaga.

The pop diva has since put out a full album with the 88-year-old Bennett, and the pair are now on tour.