'You've got a friend,' James Taylor sings to Paris

US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) talks to singer James Taylor after Taylor's performance at Paris City Hall in Paris on Jan 16, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 
US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) talks to singer James Taylor after Taylor's performance at Paris City Hall in Paris on Jan 16, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 

PARIS (AFP) - Popular American singer James Taylor added a poignant note to a Paris ceremony Friday paying tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Sitting alongside his friend, top US diplomat John Kerry, Taylor sang his best-selling hit You've Got A Friend to guests at the homage at Paris city hall, accompanying himself on the guitar.

While the song was originally written and performed by Carole King, five-time Grammy award winner Taylor made it his own when he recorded it in 1971 and it rocketed to the top of the US charts.

But on Friday, he gave it his own twist in a moving tribute to the 17 people killed in Paris last week in Islamic militant attacks.

Leading into the song with a few bars of the French national anthem La Marseillaise, Taylor also added a line "ton ami est la" - a loose translation of "you've got a friend."

"I really wanted to come here to share a hug with all of Paris," Kerry said, after what he termed the "living nightmare" of the attacks.

"I wanted to express to you personally the sheer horror and revulsion that all Americans felt," Kerry said, denouncing last week's attacks as "cowardly" and "despicable."

The United States had faced criticism for not sending a top-level representative to last Sunday's march in Paris in the wake of the attacks, which drew 1.5 million people onto the streets of the French capital and dozens of world leaders.

But leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have stressed that ties are strong between the old allies.