Simon, Carly

Born 25 June 1943 in New York City, New York (USA). Carly Simon became one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the 1970s and achieved equal success with film music in the 1980s. In the early 1960s she played Greenwich Village clubs with her sister Lucy. As the Simon Sisters they had one minor hit with “Winkin’ Blinkin’ And Nod” and recorded two albums of soft folk and children’s material.

After the duo split up, Carly Simon made an unsuccessful attempt to launch a solo career through Albert Grossman (then Bob Dylan’s manager) before concentrating on songwriting with film critic Jacob Brackman. In 1971, two of their songs, “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” and the Paul Samwell-Smith produced “Anticipation” were US hits for Simon. Her voice was given a rock accompaniment by Richard Perry on her third album which included her most famous song, “You’re So Vain”, whose target was variously supposed to be Warren Beatty and/or Mick Jagger, who provided backing vocals. The song was a million-seller in 1972 and nearly two decades later was reissued in Britain after it had been used in a television commercial.

Simon’s next Top 10 hit was a cover of the Charlie And Inez Foxx song “Mockingbird” on which she duetted with James Taylor to whom she was married from 1972-83. Their marriage was given enormous coverage in the US media, rivalling that of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Their divorce received similar treatment as Carly found solace with Taylor’s drummer Russell Kunkel. During the latter part of the ’70s, Simon was less prolific as a writer and recording artist although she played benefit concerts for anti-nuclear causes. Her most successful records were the James Bond film theme, Nobody Does It Better and ‘You Belong to Me’, a collaboration with Michael McDonald, both in 1977.

During the ’80s, Simon’s work moved away from the singer-songwriter field and towards the pop mainstream. She released two albums of pre-war Broadway standards and increased her involvement with films. Her UK hit ‘Why’ (1982) was written by Chic and used in the movie Soup For One while she appeared in Perfect with John Travolta. But her biggest achievement of the decade was to compose and perform two of its memorable film themes. Both “Coming Around Again” (from Heartburn, 1986) and the Oscar-winning ‘Let the River Run’ (from Working Girl, 1989) demonstrated the continuing depth of Simon’s songwriting talent while the quality of her previous work was showcased on a 1988 live album and video recorded in the open air at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Kim Wilde dressed up and sang as Carly Simon for the program Celebrity Stars in their Eyes, singing Nobody Does it Better.