Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


SIMON, Carly

(b 25 June '45, NYC) Singer- songwriter. Father co-founder of publishers Simon and Schuster; her father took her to so many Brooklyn Dodgers games that she became a team mascot; years later she said, 'If I was to see myself as anyone, it would be Pee Wee Reese ... A shortstop is not quite in the infield and not quite in the outfield.' With sister Lucy the Simon Sisters had minor hit 'Winken, Blinken And Nod' '64 on Kapp. A solo album to be prod. for Columbia by Albert Grossman was aborted '66 and she wrote much of debut Carly Simon '71 on Elektra with Jacob Brackman, film critic of Esquire magazine: more knowing, less confessional than others in genre, with top ten hit 'That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be'. Anticipation '71 was recorded in London with ex- Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith; title track no. 13 USA single, while 'A Legend In Your Own Time' displayed the humorous cynicism that gave her no. 1 US/3 UK hit '72 with 'You're So Vain' (candidates for identity of portrait incl. James Taylor, Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, but she wasn't talking), from album No Secrets '72, prod. by Richard Perry and perhaps her best (also incl. top 20 USA/UK 'The Right Thing To Do'). Further LPs incl. Hotcakes '73, Playing Possum '74; marriage to Taylor seemed to blunt both their muses: they had hit duet with carbon copy of Inez and Charlie Foxx's 'Mockingbird' '74, their solo outings being similarly cheery singalongs. She switched to Doobie Bros prod. Ted Templeman for Another Passenger '76 chasing MOR appeal, returned to Perry for transatlantic smash hit with James Bond theme 'Nobody Does It Better' '77, which had no edge at all. LPs Boys In The Trees '78 (incl. top ten hit 'You Belong To Me'), Spy '79, Come Upstairs '80 (on WB, incl. 'Jesse'); with marriage to Taylor on the rocks she took more chances: Torch '81 resurrected evergreens 'Body And Soul', 'I Get Along Without You Very Well' etc arr. by Mike Mainieri, while one-off disco single with Chic 'Why' (from film Dinner For One) was UK no. 10 '82. Hello Big Man '83 was followed by switch from WEA group to Epic for Spoiled Girl '85. This was her worst showing in the Billboard album chart at no. 88, and she was dropped by Tommy Mottola; she went to Arista, where she was browbeaten by the autocratic Clive Davis, who knew nothing about music but everything about the pop charts at a time when chart music had reached a new nadir. The title track of Coming Round Again '87, from her score for Streep/Nicholson film Heartburn, based on Nora Ephron's novel, was a hit single; it was her first album in the top 25 for a decade (her score for Working Girl won an Oscar '88 for best song: 'Let The River Run'). My Romance '90 was a collection of standards, followed by Have You Seen Me Lately? the same year. Letters Never Sent '94 incl. songs for her mother and for her friend Jackie Onassis, who had both recently died. She recruited men to play in her videos in an impromptu fashion: they incl. actors Jeremy Irons, Al Corley (from TV's Dynasty), and a garage mechanic named Carl, fished out from under a car for temporary stardom. Greatest Hits Live '88 was from an HBO TV special; she also made Carly Simon: My Romance '90 for HBO, with guest Harry Connick; Film Noir '97 had idiomatic versions of '30s--40s songs arr. by Arif Mardin and Jimmy Webb incl. duets with Webb and John Travolta.