By the time she belted out the 1977 James Bond anthem "Nobody Does It Better" for the film "The Spy Who Loved Me," Carly Simon was at the peak of her career. She was married to James Taylor and singing backup vocals for him in concerts, as well as provided backup for Kate Taylor and John Hall. After 1980, Carly reduced her performances following a collapse on stage. By 1983, her 11-year marriage to Taylor was over. Still, a second Grammy, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award were a few years away. Now on the cusp of completing her fourth decade as a performer, there is no doubt that Carly Simon is a full-fledged icon.
She was born in the Bronx in 1945, the daughter of mogul Richard L. Simon, who had founded the publishing company titan Simon & Schuster two decades earlier. Carly's mother, a singer in her own right, encouraged the youngest of her three daughters to follow in her footsteps. Collaborating with sister Lucy, the two Simon sisters produced three albums in the mid-60s before a domestic life forced Lucy from the artistic scene. In 1971, Carly signed with Elektra Records (which would be her label through most of the 70s) and appeared in "Taking Off," the Milos Forman movie in which Carly sang "Long Term Physical Effects." She also released Carly Simon, which snagged her a Best New Artist Grammy. The year of 1972 saw the release of No Secrets, which included a song entitled "You're So Vain." It was instantly marked as Carly's signature tune, and with her marriage to James Taylor closing the year, the 27-year-old stood at the heights of the American music scene.
By the mid-1970s, Carly was juggling her own albums, producing others, and contributing backup vocals for fellow artists. Her 007 hit "Nobody Does It Better" reached number 2 on the charts and was her second biggest hit behind "You're So Vain." Her final Elektra album, Spy, was released in 1979. The demands of performing and maintaining her schedule caught up to Carly at a show in Pittsburgh in 1980 when she collapsed from exhaustion. Torch, released that following year, reflected a melancholic sentiment from a singer in her mid-30s heading towards a divorce. In 1986, "Two Looking at One" served as the theme for "The Karate Kid, Part II," and two years later "Let the River Run" (from the "Working Girl" soundtrack) crowned Carly with a trinity of accolades: a second Grammy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar.
Throughout the 1990s, Simon continued to forge new paths of creative challenges, such as scribing children books, recording a contemporary opera, and spending most of her singing energies to covering classic hits (including a Sinatra duet, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"). Following the 9/11 disaster and the subsequent anthrax scare, Carly granted the use of "Let the River Run" for a postal service ad. Her latest songs were used for "Winnie the Pooh" movies and she released a cover album in 2007 called Into White. Her first album of original work in eight 8 years, the April 2008 release This Kind of Love, was released through the Starbucks music label Hear Music.
Indeed, Carly Simon is an artist influenced by personal experiences and events around her. She bore two children with husband James Taylor, her other romantic entanglements have clearly inspired her work, and she has battled stage fright and illnesses to maintain an impressive, prolific career. Like the other major artists of our time, Carly Simon has clearly left her mark on pop culture.
Carly on the Web
Carly's ultimate web resource guide.
Carly's official page with lyrics, career timeline, and links to articles/interviews.
Song downloads, music videos and more.
Sprawling bio details all the facts on Carly's life.
Tremendous resource complete with entire discography and clips of all her songs.
Rolling Stone Profile
Carly's profile in Rolling Stone contains published articles and album reviews.
Carly Simon YouTube Page
An adoring Carly fan has amassed numerous videos regarding Carly.
West Coast Music Interview
2004 chat with Carly on her "Live from Martha's Vineyard" concert.
Carly on the Screen & Radio
On film, Carly appeared in "Taking Off" in 1971 and made her only appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in 1976. Her songs have appeared in movies ranging from "The Falcon and the Snowman," "Sleepless in Seattle," "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," and "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." She has released 24 studio albums.
On the inspiration for the song "You're So Vain":
"I can't possibly tell who it's about because it wouldn't be fair."
On meeting future husband James Taylor:
"He was already the huge new heart-throb in the world and yet this gorgeous, brilliant songwriting boy came backstage to say hello to me."