Singer-songwriter who began her musical career as part of a sister act in the mid-’60s. Carly and Lucy Simon managed to graze the Billboard Hot 100 when “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod” went to #73 in April of 1964. The Simon Sisters recorded a trio of albums before Lucy quit to raise a family.
Carly pursued a solo career and had a pretty good backing band that comprised Mike Bloomfield, Rick Danko, Al Kooper, Richard Manuel, and Robbie Robertson, but for whatever reason, plans to release her first solo album were scrapped. In 1971, five years after that debacle, Simon scratched the top ten with “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be”, a song she co-wrote with Jacob Brackman, who was a movie critic by trade. ” Anticipation”, the title track of her second album, went to #13 later that year. The album was hugely popular and it led to her first Grammy award, for Best New Artist.
Simon topped the charts in 1972 with “You’re So Vain” and the album that it was from, No Secrets, went gold. Wedding bells rang for Carly Simon and James Taylor on 3rd November 1972. Their musical marriage produced the top-five hit “Mockingbird”, a cover of the old Inez Foxx tune.
Carly continued to pepper in the charts in the ’70s with “The Right Thing To Do”, “I Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”, and “Nobody Does It Better”, the famous theme song from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me. A year later, “You Belong To Me”, a song co-penned with Michael McDonald, went to #6. Its accompanying album, Boys in the Trees, went platinum.
While on tour in support of 1980’s Come Upstairs, Carly collapsed on stage in Pittsburgh. This was the origin of her now famous stage fright, and it would haunt her for years. The album, nevertheless, spawned a couple of hits, “Jesse” and “Why”.
The singer-songwriter turned torch singer in 1981 on; well, Torch. She continued the trend in the ’90s with My Romance and Film Noir. A trend she did not continue was being married to James Taylor. They divorced in 1983.
The ’80s saw Carly have some success as a composer for film, cracking the top twenty with “Coming Around Again” from the Jack Nicholson-Meryl Streep film Heartburn. Carly won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and a Grammy Award, for “Let the River Run”, which she penned for the Melanie Griffith comedy, Working Girl. She also embarked on a side career as a children’s author, writing Amy the Dancing Bear and The Boy of the Bells and The Fisherman’s Song.
In the ’90s, she did another 180 and wrote a children’s opera, Romulus Hunt, which enjoyed its opening on the boards of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Metropolitan Opera. In 1994, she released a rather unusual album called Letters Never Sent, which was based on real, unsent letters that she had amassed over time. Carly also found the courage to step on stage again, in concert with Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 1997, Simon was beset with breast cancer, and underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy, and fortunately was able to beat it. She found some therapy in music, writing personal songs like “Scar” for an album titled The Bedroom Tapes. The album was released in 2000, as was Mother Goose’s Basket Full of Rhymes.
Janet Jackson sampled “You’re So Vain” and employed Carly’s vocal talents for “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song is About You)” in 2001. A year later, Simon released Christmas is Almost Here and hand-picked the songs that would appear on Rhino Records’ Anthology. She remained in the spirit in 2004 with a series of holiday concerts at the Apollo Theater in New York. Simon also continued to contribute to children’s culture by penning songs for Piglet’s Big Movie and Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, and adults’, with music she wrote for the Holly Hunter-Brittany Murphy film Little Black Book, in which she also appears.
In 2004, Reflections: Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits hit the shelves and went to #22 on the Billboard Top 200. A year later, she released another album of standards, Moonlight Serenade, which entered the charts at #7, and supported the album with her first tour in a decade. In 2007, Carly released Into White, a collection of lullabies and other songs by artists as diverse as The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Judy Garland, and Cat Stevens. It debuted at #15 on the Billboard chart.
In her copious free time, she serves as co-owner of Midnight Farm, a store that culls its title from one of her children’s books.
Carly Simon was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994 and was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
Carly Simon recordings
You’re So Vain (Carly Simon)
His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin (Carly Simon)