Carly Simon

  • Soft rock singer, songwriter and musician born in 1945 in The Bronx, New York, New York.
  • Simon was raised by a father who was a classical pianist (and also was a co-founder of the publishing powerhouse Simon and Schuster), and a mother who was a civil rights activist and singer. Carly had a problem with stuttering when she was 8 years old, and she turned to singing and songwriting to break the habit. After high school and a very brief time in college, she dropped out of school to pursue a music career.
  • In 1964, she partnered with her sister Lucy to form the folk group the Simon Sisters. They released 2 albums on an independent label that year, singing traditional folk songs on the first album, and a rock/doo-wop/R&B sound on the second. The song Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod was a minor hit. Five years passed before they made a final album, a collection of children’s songs, and then Lucy left to get married. Lucy Simon went on to become a composer of musical theater, including the Broadway musicals The Secret Garden and Dr. Zhivago. 
  • In 1970, Carly Simon was signed as a solo artist and the next year she released her debut album, the self titled Carly Simon. That same year, she released her second album, Anticipation. Both albums were moderately successful, peaking at #30 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Two singles from the albums were top 15 hits – her breakthrough song That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, and Anticipation, both of which were Grammy nominated songs, and the success of the albums earned Simon the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1972. Anticipation was written by Simon in 15 minutes, as she was waiting for musician Cat Stevens to pick her up for a date. It retained its popularity as the song used for Heinz Ketchup commercials for many years.
  • Her greatest success came with her third album, No Secrets, released in 1972. The album was her first platinum album and peaked at #1 on the album chart, thanks to the success of the #1 single You’re So Vain. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004. Simon states that the song refers to 3 men in her life, and she says that the second verse is about actor Warren Beatty. She has divulged the names of all 3 men only to a few people. I’m guessing that someday this secret will be out.  Her second single from the album, The Right Thing To Do, also was popular, reaching #17 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • In 1972, Simon married musician James Taylor, and in 1974, they released the duet Mockingbird, as part of Simon’s Hotcakes album (she divorced Taylor in 1983). The album peaked at #3, and Mockingbird reached #5 on the Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single Haven’t Got Time For The Pain reached #14 on the singles chart, and was used in commercials for the pain reliever Medipren in the late 80s.
  • Her next couple of albums were less successful, but in 1977 she performed the theme song to the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. The song, Nobody Does It Better, became a major hit, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. This helped the success of her next album, Boys In The Trees, released in 1978 – the album was certified platinum, and contained her last top 10 single, You Belong To Me, which peaked at #6.
  • Five albums released from 1979 to 1985 were modestly successful. One single, 1980’s Jesse, hit #11 on the charts, but her other songs were not very popular, except with her established fans. She collapsed on stage from exhaustion during a performance in 1981, and subsequently nearly stopped performing concerts. In 1987, she had a comeback with the success of her album Coming Around Again. The title track was her final top 20 song in the charts, and the album was her final studio album to achieve platinum status (her Greatest Hits album of 1975 was her best selling record, with sales in the U.S. over 3 million copies).
  • She continued to release albums, with 10 records released from 1990 to 2009, plus 2 Christmas albums. She also has written music for the soundtracks of 4 films, 2 of which are children’s films. The song Let The River Run from the film Working Girl won Simon a Grammy award in 1990 for Best Song Written for Visual Media, as well as an Oscar and a Golden Globe award. An album of old music standards in 2005, titled Moonlight Serenade, was a surprise hit, reaching #7 on the Billboard album chart, and earning a Grammy nomination.
  • In addition to her music, she had published 5 children’s books, and well as a memoir of her life.
  • Carly Simon had many hits in my formative teenage years. Her songs were easy to sing along with, and Your So Vain was a song that you had to love. Here’s a live performance of the classic song.

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