Let the River Run
Singer/songwriter Carly Simon instantly made headlines after releasing the single “You’re So Vain” (from her 1972’s No Secrets album). Beginning her musical career as a member of the duo The Simon Sisters (with her sister, Lucy Simon), Carly Simon made a beautiful solo debut with the Top 10 single “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” (from the 1971 self-titled album) and was handed a Grammy Award. Next, Simon earned fame for her well-received albums Playing Possum (1975), Boys in the Trees (1978), Come Upstairs (1980), the children album In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record (1980, won a Grammy Award), Coming Around Again (1987) and Moonlight Serenade (2005).
The artist, known for her endearing soundtrack work, received two Grammy nominations for her self-written “Nobody Does It Better,” from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Furthermore, the song “Let the River Run,” from the romantic comedy film Working Girl (1988), garnered her a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, as well as a BAFTA nomination. Interestingly, after making an unannounced live performance at New York’s Grand Central Station, in 1995, Simon took home a CableACE Award for the song “Touched by the Sun,” which she sang at the event.
Apart from her established musical career, Simon also established herself as a children’s book writer with such storybook titles as “Amy the Dancing Bear” (1989), “The Boy of the Bells” (1990), “The Fisherman’s Song” (1991), “The Nighttime Chauffeur” (1993) and “Midnight Farm” (1997). She also wrote a family opera titled “Romulus Hunt” (1993) for the Metropolitan Opera Association and the Kennedy Center. Simon, who in 1994 was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, performed in the “Livestock ’95” concert, a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.
On a more private note, in April 1998, the artist announced she had breast cancer. Five years later, she fractured her shoulder after falling in the bathtub. Simon was once married to James Taylor (1972-1983, has 2 children) and engaged to Russ Kunkle (1985-1986), before marrying James Hart (1987-now).
Childhood and Family:
Born on June 25, 1945, in the New York City, Carly Simon is the third of four children to publisher Richard Leo Simon (died in 1960) and Andrea Simon (died in 1994). She has two sisters, Joanna Simon (opera singer, born on October 20, 1940) and Lucy Simon (nurse and composer, born in 1943), and a brother, Peter Simon (photographer, born in 1947).
Carly, who developed a speech impediment as a child, attended a Riverdale county school and then continued her studies at the Sarah Lawrence College for two years. After quitting, she formed a folk duo with her sister Lucy, billed as The Simon Sisters. Later, Carly pursued a solo career in music.
As for her romantic life, the artist was married to singer/songwriter James Taylor from 1972 to 1983. After having a brief engagement with drummer Russ Kunkle (1985-1986), she exchanged wedding vows with poet James Hart on December 23, 1987. Carly is the mother of a daughter named Sarah Maria Taylor (born 1974) and a son named Benjamin Simon Taylor (guitarist/singer, born in 1977), from her marriage with James Taylor.
You’re So Vain
As a teen, Carly Simon formed the duo The Simon Sisters with her sister Lucy. Together, they performed at coffeehouses and recorded an album in 1964, with the moderate hit “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod.” After two more recordings, Simon’s sister left the group and got married. Carly Simon then had a six-month stint with the rock group Elephant’s Memory.
In 1971, Simon officially launched her solo career with the self-titled debut album under Elektra Records, featuring the first Top 10 single “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” which she co-wrote with Jacob Brackman. Before long, her successful entrance into the music scene garnered her a Grammy for Best New Artist. The sophomore recording Anticipation (1971) quickly followed the hit album and scored airplay with the title track, “Anticipation.” The song was later made into a soundtrack of a commercial for ketchup. The same year, she also appeared in the motion picture Taking Off (1971), as an audition singer. For the dramatic comedy, she also performed the self-written song “Long Term Physical Effects.”
Simon’s big breakthrough came with the third album No Secrets (1972). Co-written by Simon, the gold recording gained fame primarily for the chart topping lead single “You’re So Vain,” which aroused never-ending speculation about its subject. No Secrets also spun out the No. 4 Adult Contemporary single “The Right Thing to Do.”
Working with other artists, in 1973, Simon was featured in Lee Clayton’s song “New York Suite 409,” and Livingston Taylor’s songs “Loving Be My New Horizon” and “Pretty Woman” (sang with both Livingston and James Taylor). The singer next released the well-regarded recordings Hotcakes (1974) and Playing Possum (1975) before issuing the greatest hits compilation The Best of Carly Simon (1975). However, her next album, Another Passenger (1976), did not do as well
Simon treated moviegoers with the beautiful soundtrack “Nobody Does It Better,” from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The song climbed all the way to the runner-up position and went gold. Furthermore, “Nobody Does It Better” brought Simon two Grammy nominations (one for Song of the Year, one for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) and an Oscar nomination for Original Song.
The next year, Simon turned up with the Boys in the Trees (1978) album, which spawned the Top 10 “You Belong to Me,” before rejoining sister Lucy to write the songs for the play “Reunion” (1978). Also in 1978, the artist took part in Burt Bacharach and the Houston Symphony Orchestra’s four-hour concert at the Texas’ Jones Hall, serving as the guest vocalist for the song “I Live In The Woods.” She was also a part of a series of concerts held in 1979 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which was sponsored by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy). The concert later became a film documentary and a soundtrack called No Nukes (1980). Simon rounded up the year with the release of Spy (1979), her last album with Elektra Records.
Simon won her second Grammy award for her work with sister Lucy and David Levine (Lucy’s husband), in the children album In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record (1980). For the recording, Simon contributed “Be With Me” and sang “In Harmony.” Later, in 1982, the Simon sisters made the follow-up album In Harmony 2 (1982).
After signing to Warner Brothers Records, Simon launched the studio album Come Upstairs (1980) and soared to the top of Billboard charts with the single “Jesse.” While touring the album, the artist collapsed due to stage fright and decided it was her last concert performance in major arenas. Simon prevailed with the UK hit “Why” (1982), a single from the album Torch (1981). Sadly, the sales of her album Hello Big Man (1983) were awful and she was dropped from the Warner Brothers label. She then had a brief stint with Epic Records, under which she released the washed out recording Spoiled Girl (1985). It led to her next dismissal from a major label.
Simon, who appeared as herself in the drama Perfect (1985, unaccredited), made a TV concert program for HBO titled Carly in Concert: Coming Around Again (1987), to promote the album Coming Around Again (1987, under Arista Records). Apparently, the recording became a strong album for its chart-burning tracks, “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of,” “Give Me All Night,” “All I Want Is You,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and the title song.
During this time, Simon also penned and performed for many soundtracks, including songs for Love Child (1982, “Something More”), Swing Shift (1984, “Someone Waits For You”), Torchlight (1985, TV, “All The Love In The World”), the miniseries “Sins” (1986, “It’s Hard to be Tender) and The Karate Kid, Part II (1986, “Two Looking At One”). Eventually, her self-written song “Let the River Run,” from the romantic comedy film Working Girl (1988), won her significant critical accolades, such as a Grammy for Best Song for a Motion Picture, as well as an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Also, she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Original Film Score.
On a Martha’s Vineyard specially built stage, Simon did a live performance, which then was recorded in the album Greatest Hits Live (1988). The following year, she wrote a song called “You’re Where I Go” (1989) as a tribute to the late Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who died in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
Subsequent to her BAFTA-nominated film score for Postcards from the Edge (1990), Simon launched two pop albums: My Romance, and Have You Seen Me Lately, in 1990. Next, she sang a duet with Plácido Domingo in “The Last Night Of The World” (1991, from the “Miss Saigon” musical), wrote theme songs for Nora Ephron’s This Is My Life (1992), contributed “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” for Sleepless In Seattle (1993) and was featured in Andreas Vollenweider’s album Eolian Minstrel (1993).
The prolific artist issued the studio album Letters Never Sent (1994), before giving a surprise live performance at New York’s Grand Central Station, which was filmed for a Lifetime Television Special program. Simon’s performance was released on VHS in December 1995 and one of its songs, “Touched by the Sun,” soon nabbed a CableACE for Best Song. The same year, she released the box set Clouds In My Coffee, a collection of her work from 1965 to 1995. Aside from her numerous soundtrack works, Simon issued the album Film Noir (1997), the third greatest hits compilation The Very Best Of Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better (1999) and The Bedroom Tapes (2000).
In November 2001, “Let the River Run” was used in a public service ad for the United States Postal Service titled “Pride.” Simon, who now joined the label Rhino Records, launched the holiday album Christmas Is Almost Here (2002), the two-disc anthology album titled Anthology (2002) and the re-released Christmas album Christmas Is Almost Here Again (2003). Among her recent soundtrack works were songs for Disney’s Winnie the Pooh films (2003’s Piglet’s Big Movie and 2005’s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie) and the drama Little Black Book (2004, also appeared as herself).
After launching the Billboard’s 22nd Top Album, Reflections: Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits (2005), Simon issued Moonlight Serenade (2005), which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Album charts. She then worked with the late artist Mindy Jostyn on the duet, “Angel of the Darkest Night” (2005).
The talented performer is set to release her next album, Into White, in late October 2006. Produced by Simon & Jimmy Parr under the Columbia Records label, the recording will feature two new songs and cover of songs by Cat Stevens, Judy Garland, The Beatles, and the Everly Brothers.
- CableACE: Best Song, “Touched by the Sun,” Carly Simon: Live at Grand Central Station, 1995
- Grammy: Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, “Let the River Run,” 1989
- Oscar: Best Original Song, “Let the River Run,” from Working Girl, 1988
- Golden Globe: Best Original Song, “Let the River Run,” 1988
- Grammy: Best Recording for Children, In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record, shared with the Doobie Brothers, James Taylor,the Muppets, Linda Rondstadt, Al Jarreau, Bette Midler and others, 1980
- Grammy: Best New Artist, 1971