Carly Elizabeth Simon (born June 25, 1945 in New York City) is an American musician who emerged as one of the leading lights of the early 1970s singer-songwriter boom.
Simon¡¯s father was Richard L. Simon (co-founder of Simon and Schuster, Inc.), an accomplished pianist who often played Chopin and Beethoven at home. She was raised in the Riverdale neighborhood of New York City and has two sisters and a brother.
After a short-lived attempt at launching a career with her sister Lucy (they had a minor hit in the mid-1960s with a version of the children¡¯s song ¡°Wynken, Blinken, and Nod¡± as the Simon Sisters), and a short spell with eclectic New York rockers Elephant¡¯s Memory, Simon launched her solo career in 1971 with the self-titled Carly Simon. The album contained a top-ten hit, ¡°That¡¯s the Way I¡¯ve Always Heard It Should Be¡±, and was followed quickly by a second album, Anticipation, the title cut from which also scored airplay. Simon¡¯s major breakthrough, though, was 1972¡¯s No Secrets. The album spawned several successful singles, including Simon¡¯s biggest hit, ¡°You¡¯re So Vain¡±.
Simon married fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor in 1972 and followed up the success of No Secrets with a series of well-received albums Hotcakes (1974) and Playing Possum (1975). Her sales began moderating, though in the later 1970s she would have hits with ¡°Nobody Does It Better¡± (from the soundtrack to the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me) and ¡°You Belong to Me¡± (from Boys in the Trees, 1978).
Simon and Taylor had two children, Sarah Maria ¡°Sally¡± (born on January 7, 1974) and Benjamin Simon ¡°Ben¡± Taylor (born on January 22, 1977), prior to their 1983 divorce.
In 1980, Simon collapsed onstage of exhaustion, and largely retired from performing in the 1980s. Torch (1981) was an album of melancholy standards reflecting her mood at the time. ¡°Why¡± (1982) was a hit in the UK, but few of her singles in the 1980s rose in the pop charts, although some did better among adult contemporary audiences. Moreover, during this time Simon successfully contributed to several film scores, including the songs ¡°In the Wee Small Hours¡± for Sleepless In Seattle, ¡°Coming Around Again¡± for Heartburn, and ¡°Let the River Run¡± for Working Girl (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1988). The album Coming Around Again (1987) was her strongest during this decade, as exemplified by ¡°Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of¡±, and the title track, which wove in and out of the children¡¯s song, ¡°Itsy Bitsy Spider¡±. These and older songs were featured in a picturesque HBO special set on Martha¡¯s Vineyard.
Simon worked on several projects in the 1990s including an opera, Romulus Hunt, and a cover of ¡°Take Me Out to the Ball Game¡± for Ken Burns¡¯ 1994 film Baseball. In 1995 she put aside years of stage fright long enough to stage an American concert tour in conjunction with Hall and Oates. In 1998, Simon was diagnosed with breast cancer and received chemotherapy. She survived her disease, and in 2000 recorded her first album since her illness, The Bedroom Tapes.
Among Simon¡¯s recent work were songs for the Disney Winnie the Pooh film Piglet's Big Movie. Her songs were also prominently featured in the movie Little Black Book starring Brittany Murphy and Holly Hunter. In 2005 she released a new album of standards titled Moonlight Serenade.
Also in 2005, she became involved in the legal defense of fellow musician and family friend John Fort³Iith his struggle against federal incarceration.
Vocally sure-footed as ever, Simon wicks the warmth out of every last track on 2007¡¯s Into White and directs it with pinpoint precision to her listeners. Nobody does music as comfort food better.
Grammy Award-winner Carly Simon is one of the most respected vocalists and songwriters in music today. This Kind of Love ranks among her most personal albums, as well as one of her most stylistically diverse excursions, with songs ranging from gorgeous melodies to driving rhythms. The CD is co-produced by Simon, Frank Filipetti and Jimmy Webb, who also wrote or co-wrote most of the arrangements.
Carly Simon currently lives on Martha¡¯s Vineyard and co-owns a store in Vineyard Haven named Midnight Farm, which is also the title of one of the series of children¡¯s books she wrote in the 1990s.