Carly Simon

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Carly Simon

Postby sfboy » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:55 pm


I have 2 questions for y'all. I know there was a James Taylor thread a while ago that sort of wandered over a bit towards Carly, but I guess I wanted to start a new thread.

So, first, has anyone heard Carly's new CD? It's a lullaby CD, sort of, though actually partly for kids and partly not. I guess it's quiet and acoustic and she does a bunch of covers, including You Can Close Your Eyes (my very favorite James Taylor song). If anyone has any input, I'd love to hear it.

My second question is sort of a question and comment. I just saw an article in the NY Times about the new CD and an interview with Carly, and in it she said that she actually wanted to do a rock CD, but her label had only agreed to sign her again if it, and not Carly, could dictate the direction of her next CD (this one). My question is, why in the heck would someone as successful as Carly Simon sign a contract like that? I mean, I think we need to start using a new idiom called "pull a Patty". For example, why didn't Carly just pull a Patty and sign on to a smaller label? She doesn't even tour, for God's sake. And isn't she from a really wealthy family, of Simon and Schuster publishing fame? Does she need the money? I guess I just feel really sad that someone like her gets told what she gets to sing. I mean, it wasn't like she made a rock CD and the label didn't like it (which is already bad enough). Instead the completely controlled what she did.

Make me understand this so I won't feel so yucky, or just comiserate with me. Thanks for letting me put this out there.

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Postby Turk » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:19 pm

I'm kind of surprised that with Carly's success and longevity that she would give in so easily to the suits of the business. I haven't heard the album yet so I can't really judge the results. She's admitted to being shy and intimidated for the most part when it comes to performing live. Maybe she lacks a little of the same when she's making a record. she seemst to me like the type who has an idea of what she'd like to produce but is accustomed to the movers and shakers having the final say.

I hate to seem cruel because I've always liked Carly but she kind of reminds me of Linda Ronstadt's early years when Peter Asher arrranged everything. All Linda had to do was show up and sing. Luckily for her (and fans like me) the songs usually worked. Much can be said in my opiinion of Carly. She needs to grow a ball and say, "Hey...I'm good enough. I'm smart enough and doggonnit, screw everybody else. I'm gonna remake 'Comfortably Numb.'"

I'm sure she'd like to venture away from the easy listening groove and stir things up a bit. Of course, if she contractually obligated, the suits have the final say. After this album, she may just pull a Grace Slick and jam out.

Go Ask Carly....she just might know......
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Postby Turk » Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:46 am

Carly Simon's latest album recalls the good old days
The songwriter is enjoying a creative renaissance 40 years into her career.

CARLY SIMON: 'I am secretly hoping [Into White] will be successful enough so that Sony will put out a record of my own material.'

If Carly Simon were to break into a chorus of ''these are the good old days'' from her old hit Anticipation, one would fully understand her jovial mood these days despite the foggy, rainy wintry day outside her home on the Vineyard.

Her 2005 album Moonlight Serenade put her back in the Top 10 for the first time since 1978. She completed a tour she said she enjoyed, a feat for an artist who has notoriously shunned live performances. And on Tuesday she's releasing Into White, an album that, at times, rivals some of her finest work.

Yet her picturesque description of the inclement weather outside her window as she settles in for an hour-long telephone conversation, with her dog cuddling on her lap, is as evocative as one of her lyrics as she dispenses descriptions of ''the rain slanting down'' and the fog nestling on the wet leaves of her gardens -- the same lush foliage pictured in dappled sunlight on the packaging of Into White.

But the call's purpose is not to discuss the weather. It's to find out what went into making Into White as cheerful as it is. The last time Carly Elisabeth Simon, 61, chatted up an album, she was emerging from a place as gray as the clouds she described hanging over her house. That 2000 release, The Bedroom Tapes, detailed the songwriter's bout with depression, writer's block and her battle with breast cancer.


Into White is that album's polar opposite, a warm morning sun emerging after a long night. Originally conceived as a collection of lullabies by marrying covers of folk songs from James Taylor, Cat Stevens, The Beatles, Stephen Foster and three originals has evolved into a reflective, subtly spiritual set of tranquil tunes she prefers to term ``lulling.''

There are no drums but there are acoustic guitars, piano, dobro, flute, cello and kalimba. A haunting Luiz Bonfá melody from the film classic Black Orpheus forms a centerpiece. It's a family affair, too, with Simon's children, Ben, 29, and Sally, 32, from her marriage to Taylor, harmonizing on an achingly tender cover of his 1970s ballad, You Can Close Your Eyes. Ben Taylor cowrote the charming I'll Just Remember You.

Add drums and it could very well be a sonic cousin to Anticipation, her 1971 soft-rock classic.

''Back to basics was not the intention,'' Simon counters. ``Had I gone back to basics, I would have played the songs with more force like Anticipation and I've Got to Have You. It wasn't quite that. It's a new direction to see how soft we can go and still have an intensity.''

Jay Landers, an executive producer with Sony who oversees projects for Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Johnny Mathis, urged Simon to record Into White as the follow-up to Moonlight Serenade, a standards collection that reunited Simon with You're So Vain / Nobody Does It Better producer Richard Perry.

According to Landers, Into White was intended to reconnect with Simon's original fan base.

'I had a specific idea in mind. I wanted Carly to create an organic acoustic record that would harken back to the days of her early recordings and out of that came the idea of the concept, `Songs I wish I'd written,' '' Landers says. ``The albums we referred to when we talked about this album in terms of the tone were Carole King's Tapestry, Joni Mitchell's Blue and Carly's early albums.''

The danger, however, is in stifling Simon's chief asset -- songwriting. It's an epidemic tarnishing the modern recording industry: Veterans are forced into covering tired -- yet marketable -- standards to remain signed to a major label and reap the promotional benefits.


Simon's deal with Columbia called for an album of standards -- Moonlight Serenade -- with the option for another should it prove successful. Her desire was to record a new album with Bill Withers' producer, Booker T., at the boards. Instead, Sony exercised its option. The push-and-pull led to the more distinctive Into White and Simon managed to contribute one of her own songs to the process.

She agreed to do an old war horse like Over the Rainbow, but only on her ambitious terms. Simon says her stark, nuanced performance was inspired by watching Katharine McPhee's ostentatious rendition on American Idol last season. ''I thought what a good opportunity to strip the song bare,'' she said. ``As long as I reharmonize them, they feel like my own.''

Still, it would be a shame to lose a writer's voice like Simon's. After all she, along with contemporaries like King, Mitchell, Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon, revolutionized popular music by taking the folk flavorings of the '60s and turning the music inward to an intensely personal nature.

Simon was a master of the strong-female, confessional pop song: You're So Vain. That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be. You Belong to Me. Vengeance. The effects are still felt in the work of next-generation acts such as Tori Amos, John Mayer, James Blunt, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, Corrine Bailey Rae and Norah Jones.

''Carly is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century and certainly could write an album of her own material and I hope she does,'' Landers says.


Simon points out she has dozens of her own compositions ready for the studio.

''I am secretly hoping this will be successful enough so that Sony will put out a record of my own material,'' Simon says, recounting how a former Sony chief had told her that no one wants to hear ''what she has to say'' -- meaning, new music from artists of her generation. ''That's the trouble. Most women songwriters of my age, just when we're getting most interesting, we're clamped up,'' Simon says.

''I've been rigorous. . . . I know what my truth is and I have to sing my truth. I've never been false emotionally. That's true in every phase of music that I sing -- unless,'' she says, breaking into a hearty laugh, ``it's tortured by some president of a record company.''
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Postby marybeth » Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:14 am

From Salon:

Rockabye, Baby
Carly Simon talks about her newest album -- a collection of lullabies -- remodeling her kitchen and why we're still obsessed with "You're So Vain" after all these years.

By Dave Marchese

Jan. 17, 2007 | Carly SimonPart of the new breed of singer-songwriters to emerge in the early '70s, Carly Simon made her name with songs like "Anticipation," "Nobody Does It Better" and, most famously, "You're So Vain" (purportedly about either Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger or James Taylor), which mixed personal confession with strong pop melodies. But with her last two albums, 2005's "Moonlight Serenade" and the new "Into White," Simon has turned her artistic attention away from her personal life and onto interpreting the work of others.

Conceived, with some supportive prodding from her record label, as a collection of lullabies, the serene "Into White" features Simon and a ramshackle gang of collaborators (including her children Ben and Sally Taylor) joining together on songs like "Over the Rainbow," "Blackbird" and "Scarborough Fair." Don't make the mistake of thinking the album's tranquil mood is reflective of Simon's own personal state of mind, though. "That has nothing to do with it," she says. "It doesn't matter whether I'm climbing an ice-cap mountain, I could still sing any of these lullabies."

Salon spoke with Simon by phone as the singer was recuperating in New York from a hectic round of publicity made even more strenuous than usual by a bout of mononucleosis.

How did the album come together?

What I was going to do was do another album like "Moonlight Serenade" if, in fact, "Moonlight Serenade" sold over a certain amount of copies. But it didn't sell over that amount so I probably would have been free to go anywhere, but in the nick of time I got a request from Jay Landers [then head of A&R at Sony] who thought that my name was synonymous with lullabies and would I do a lullaby album.

Seeing as how the last two albums haven't afforded you the opportunity to vent, are you able to find other avenues for getting your feelings out?

Well, I still write the lyrics. The fact that they haven't culminated in an entire album doesn't mean that they won't. I'll always be able to relive those moments and I'm sure I'll be writing new songs based on how I feel. I'm a labile person. I get my feelings hurt incredibly easy and my whole outlook on my relationship changes in the course of five minutes -- only to change back again in another 10. It's always a matter of catching them. Sometimes I get lazy and I just don't travel around with a pad and pencil and a tape recorder.

You've had a long, successful career. Are you still concerned with how well an album is going to sell?

Yes, because I'm building a new addition on my house. I've never had a kitchen in my house -- which sounds totally retarded -- but I've lived in a kitchen that we built when I was first married in 1972 [to James Taylor, whom she divorced in 1983; she has been married to businessman James Hart since 1987] and it was definitely a hippie kitchen and I've never enlarged it from that time. Now I'm finally building myself a kitchen that is going to spare nothing. So, yes, I'm interested. I don't tour, so I don't make the kind of money that you expect people in rock 'n' roll to make. I need to make my money from my records.

Both your children are on smaller record labels and presumably that affords them a certain amount of freedom with their musical choices. Are you envious?

I really like my relationship with Columbia. I think they like their relationship with me, if it goes forward, if this record doesn't lose them money or if they do a little bit better than breaking even ... But we got really lucky; we got Starbucks [where "Into White" is being sold] and we did "Oprah" and we just did QVC [Simon performed on the shopping channel earlier this month]. So those are three major areas of exposure. And now with, we've got it covered.

In reading other articles about you, there's sort of the sense that doing an interview with you is a prickly proposition. Do you think the public perception of you has been accurate?

Prickly in terms of what?

That there was certain subject matter I should stay away from.

There's nothing I'm sensitive about talking about. I'm one of the most open people you'll ever meet. It's true that I have been... I have mononucleosis now and Epstein-Barr syndrome. So, I'm just kind of tired and sick.

I was told that you were sensitive to the idea that you were copying Rod Stewart [who's had recent success with albums consisting of non-original material]?

You mean with "Moonlight Serenade"?

Right. Do you feel that there is the perception that you are trying to hop on a bandwagon?

No, because exactly as you said, I'd done that [an album of standards] long before Rod Stewart did. I also worked with Richard [Perry, a co-producer on Stewart's album] long before Rod Stewart ever did. So it didn't dovetail that much for me.

"Moonlight Serenade" was your highest-charting album since the '70s. Does it all feel like sort of a backhanded compliment considering that it contained material you didn't write?

Not at all. I was totally thrilled. But I also don't think that has very much to do with what my best work is. I do know my best work and I'm very satisfied with my knowledge of it because I think I know better than anybody else about my work. That doesn't offer objectivity, but there is a certain way that artists have of being able to see inside themselves and when their artistry conjoins with the soul, that's the most satisfying thing that can happen to somebody who calls herself an artist.

What do you think was your best work and where does "Into White" fit relative to that?

If you want to talk about an album with my own material, I think an album that I feel the most close to is my personal album, which is called "The Bedroom Tapes." When Clive Davis was fired from Arista and L.A. Reid came along, L.A. Reid did not want to promote it. I actually bought it back, so I own that album now. So whenever is the right time I'm going to release it -- with a couple of changes and a couple of new songs on it. But that's the one that I feel is my own personal gem.

"Into White" must've felt like a breeze.

It wasn't the soul-searching album that "The Bedroom Tapes" was and that other albums with my writing have been. But "Into White" has a certain intimacy that "The Bedroom Tapes" doesn't even have because of the way it was recorded and because of the intimate nature of the almost non-studio setting. It was friends getting together and making noises that sound beautiful. It's kind of like a play group as opposed to a studio album. It's like a play group where we all have finger paints and sit on the floor and make colors.

Why do you think people are so obsessed with knowing who "You're So Vain" is about?

People like what they can't have. That's the only reason. I guess people have been interested in my love life, or at least were for a certain portion of time when I was single. I did and do know some very interesting people and they wonder which of those very interesting people those rather evocative words are about.

It's also probably time for that question to be answered. I'm finally giving you the chance to tell me whom it's about.

No, I'm sorry. It would bore you terribly.


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Some people want to know what it feels like to fly

Americana: "a nebulous category of misfits and acquired tastes, many of whom seem to have worn cowboy hats at one time or another" LA Times article
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Postby RightOverThisMess » Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:30 pm

If I had a dime for every time I've been asked if I was named after Carly Simon...
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...and you don't know what I've done.
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Postby Rob » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:20 pm

Little known episode in her stellar career. Carly Ramone.

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