Carly Simon is an American singer who rose to fame in the 1970’s with back-to-back hit records. She has written many of her own songs and has authored a number of children’s books. She had a deep interest in music from childhood and taught herself to play the guitar. She began a music group The Simon Sisters’ with her sister Lucy. The group enjoyed minor success and made three albums together before Lucy left the band to start a family. Carly went solo in 1971 with her self-titled album ‘Carly Simon.’ She had her first big hit with her single ‘You’re so vain’, which till date remains one of her most successful songs generally regarded as her “signature song.” A Grammy Award followed and she became one of the most famous singers of the 1970’s decade. Her trail of success continued well into the next decade though the 1970’s are considered her golden period. After becoming a mother she recorded a children’s album that was very well received by the public. She followed it up by publishing a series of children’s books, thus making a foray into writing. In addition to singing and writing, Simon has also made a few film and television appearances. She is cancer survivor who fought and won a tough battle against breast cancer in the late 1990’s.
Childhood & Early Life
Carly Simon was born in New York. Her father, Richard Simon, a pianist by profession was also the co-founder of the famous Simon & Schuster publishing house. Her mother Andrea Louise was a civil rights activist and singer.
She went to Riverdale Country School before attending Sarah Lawrence College. She dropped out of college to pursue music.
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Simon began her musical career in 1971 with the release of her self-titled album ‘Carly Simon.’ It was followed by her second album ‘Anticipation’ in the same year.
Her album ‘No Secrets’, out in 1972 was her first big commercial success. It included the super-hit song ‘You're So Vain.’ Her next album ‘Hotcakes’ was released in 1974.
She steadily released other albums “Playing Possum’ (1975), ‘Another Passenger’ (1976), ‘Boys in the Trees’ (1978), and Spy (1979) over the decade.
During the early 1980’s, she released three albums, ‘Come Upstairs’ (1980), ‘Torch’ (1981), ‘Hello Big Man’ (1983), but none of them were big hits.
She was not as prolific during the later part of 1980’s and the 1990’s in her music career as she was concentrating more on her writing. Her only successful album released during this period was ‘Coming around Again’ (1987).
Simon made her debut as an author with her first children’s book ‘Amy the Dancing Bear’ in 1989. She followed it with ‘The Boy of the Bells’ (1990) and ‘The Fisherman’s Song’ (1991). Her fourth book ‘The Nighttime Chauffeur’ was published in 1993.
She tried to make a comeback in the new millennium with ‘Bedroom Tapes’ (2000) and ‘Christmas is Almost Here’ (2002). Some of her other albums during that decade were ‘Moonlight Serenade’ (2005), ‘Into white’ (2007), ‘Never been Gone’ (2009).
Simon’s second album, ‘Anticipation’, released in 1971 was her first major hit. It was accredited Gold in the U.S by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She was nominated for Grammy in 1972 for Best Pop Female Vocalist for the song ‘Anticipation.’
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Her 1972 album ‘No Secrets’ was a huge commercial success. The hit single ‘You’re So Vain’ is regarded as her most popular song even today. The album was certified Platinum in the U.S and Gold in the U.K.
Simon’s album ‘Hotcakes’ (1974) was one of her best selling albums, accredited Gold in the U.S. it included hit singles like ‘Haven't Got Time for the Pain’ and ‘Mockingbird.’
She released a compilation album, ‘The Best of Carly Simon’ in 1975 which included her greatest hits from her previous albums. The album became a best-seller and was certified Multi-Platinum in the U.S and Gold in Canada.
The album ‘Boys in the Trees’, released in 1978 included the hit single ‘You Belong to Me’ for which Simon received a Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Female Vocalist. The album got a Platinum rating in the U.S.
Her album ‘Coming around Again’ (1987) was her first big hit after a number of years. It was certified Platinum in both the U.S and Canada, and Silver in the U.K. Simon was nominated for the Grammy in Best Pop Female Vocalist category in 1988.
In 2004, her second compilation album ‘Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits’ was released. It included a collection of some of her biggest hits and was certified Gold in the U.S.
Awards & Achievements
Shen won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1972. This award is given to “a new artist who releases, during the eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.”
Her song ‘Let the River Run’ (1988) won her three prestigious awards: Grammy Award for ‘Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television’ (1990); Academy Award for ‘Best Song’ (1989); and Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Original Song’ (1989).
She received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2004 for her 1972 song ‘You’re So Vain.’ This Award is given to honour recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance".
Personal Life & Legacy
Carly Simon was married to fellow singer James Taylor in 1972. They had two children, both of whom are musicians. The couple divorced in 1983. She married James Hart in 1987 and later divorced him in 2007.
Her son, Ben Taylor, is the lead singer of The Ben Taylor Band.
She is a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with the disease in late 1997.