Fate never knocks twice on the same door. Those who grab the opportunities with both hands on the first knock get instant success. A similar thing happened with Carly Simon, who couldn’t even talk properly in her early years. She had stutter issues, and her parents tried their best to improve her speaking skills. But little Carly had other plans in mind.
Carly Simon was born in 1945 in Bronx, New York City. Her father owned a publishing company and was a classical pianist in his spare time. Carly and her two older sisters were raised as Roman Catholics and went to Riverside Country School.
By the age of 8, Carly started developing significant stutter in her speech. Her parents sought professional help, but all in vain. It was at this stage when Carly began writing songs. She had major stutter while talking normally, but she was beyond perfect when it came to singing.
Along with her sister Lucy, Carly created a duo called the Simon Sisters. They were recognized by Kapp Records in 1964. The team focused on giving music to children’s poems initially. They created two albums until Lucy got married and decided to start a family. Carly tried her luck with bands like Elephant’s Memory, but it was not for her.
Carly was always meant to be the lone ranger. In 1971, she was signed by Elektra Records, under which she released her first album, Carly Simon. Her song from this album, “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard charts. The album as a whole reached number 30 on the charts. Carly received a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards. At the same time, she won the award for Best New Artist.
Followed by her first album’s massive success, Carly released her second album in December of the same year. Her album Anticipation reached number 30, but the single lead of the same name got up to number 13 on the Billboard. She got another Grammy Award nomination for this album.
Interestingly, Carly wrote the song Anticipation in fifteen minutes while waiting for Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) to pick her up for a date night.
Carly’s ultimate breakthrough came in the form of “You’re So Vain.” Widely regarded as the song of the decade, it was a massive success worldwide. It received nominations for several awards, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Vocal Pop Performance. Her album No Secrets stayed on number 1 on the Billboards for five consecutive weeks. It got Gold status in the same year, and on its 25th anniversary, it got Platinum. In 2014, the song “You’re So Vain” was recognized as the “ultimate song of the 70s”.
From then on, there was no stopping for Carly. She gave hit singles like “The Right Thing to do” and collaborated with many famous singers. She sang with James Taylor in a number of albums. Following No Secrets, Carly released her fourth album, Hotcakes which was also an instant hit. A duet from the album “Mockingbird” reached number 5 on the pop Billboards.
Carly’s international success was followed by her single “Nobody Does It Better” in 1977. The song was used as a James Bond movie theme. It charted at the top for seven weeks on Adult Contemporary charts. Again, it received multiple Grammy nominations.
While Carly’s success was only growing, her albums released mixed reviews from critics and fans. Some singles like “Vengeance” and “Never Been Gone” did decent business in the market but nothing compared to the stardom she witnessed earlier. She continued her collaborations with James Taylor and even wrote songs for his albums.
During the 80s, Carly signed contracts with Warner Bros and released albums under their label. She sang songs for movies, and many of them were praised for her beautiful voice. Her next stardom came in the form of an Academy Award in 1988 for her song “Let the River Run” from the movie “Working Girls.” The song also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award. Carly made history with this song because she was the first person to write, sing, and perform a song and win all three major awards for it.
Carly Simon remained active throughout the 90s and even later. She gave surprise performances and kept on making new music. Some did well on the charts while others no so well. Carly inspired modern singers like Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, who consider her their inspiration. During Taylor’s Red tour, Carly sang “You’re So Vain” with her.
Along with music, Carly had an interest in writing for children. She wrote her first children’s book Amy the Dancing Bear, in 1989. In total, she wrote five books for children. In 2015, she launched her first memoir, Boys in the Trees: A Memoir. She wrote about her life through childhood and her struggles with music. Her second memoir, Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie, was focused on Carly’s long-term friendship with the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.
Carly has been in and out of many relationships. She was briefly engaged to the playboy William Donaldson who broke off his engagement with actress Sarah Miles. In 1972, Carly married her fellow singer James Taylor. They made a good pair everywhere, but their time as a married couple was short-lived. They got divorced in 1983. Carly remained best friends with James’s brother Livingston Taylor for almost 40 years.
During the late 90s, Carly suffered from breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy. She lost her close friend Linda McCartney to the same disease. Carly also suffers from Osteopenia, a low bone density disease.
According to the reports, Carly is currently dating Richard Koehler, a surgeon. In 2015, they were reported to be living together.