The Anticipation Is Over As The Rock Hall Beckons For Carly Simon

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NOBODY DOES IT BETTER: Carly Simon, circa 1975, had a string of hits including “You’re So Vain,” “Anticipation,” “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” and Bond theme “Nobody Does It Better,” making her one of the top women artists of the rock era. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Carly Simon might have had a career writing other people’s songs were it not for a toss of the I Ching, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductee writes in her memoir, “Boys In The Trees.”

When friend and music manager Jerry Brandt asked, “Will it be to our mutual benefit to work together professionally?” and tossed the coins, the answer came up in the affirmative. They soon recorded a three-song demo. After some unpleasant rejections, one of Simon’s cassettes made it to a weekly lunchtime listening session with Elektra Records execs, all but one of whom voted to pass.

The one who said “yes” to Simon’s demo, including her own “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” was Elektra President Jac Holzman, who vetoed his execs and promptly signed Simon to a recording contract. Her eponymous debut was released in February 1971.

Simon won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1972, and “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, in a field that included Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, and Cher; and won by Carole King for Tapestry.

Her sophomore album, Anticipation, spawned two more hit singles: the title track and “Legend In Your Own Time,” garnered even more success and another Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, this time vying with such formidable stars as Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack and winner Helen Reddy.

For Simon, her third album was the charm. No Secrets, released in 1973, marked a global breakthrough, spending five weeks atop Billboard’s Top 200. It also marked a further evolution in Simon’s songwriting and persona; there was vulnerability, sure, but also new confidence and songs about relationships (or maybe just acquaintances; so what?) on her own terms, like the smash “You’re So Vain.”

More hits followed, including “The Right Thing To Do,” “Mockingbird,” and “Nobody Does It Better,” a song recorded for the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.” More film work ensued, including “Let the River Run” for the film “Working Girl.” Simon became the first performer to win an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy Award for a song composed and performed by a single artist. In all, she’s won two Grammys and been nominated 14 times.

The days of 1970s-‘80s ubiquity may be over, but Simon’s sway remains. People still talk about the subject(s) of “You’re So Vain,” and her influence on au courant artists like Radiohead and Taylor Swift is incalculable.

Simon makes rare concert appearances these days, though a 2005 tour with Hall & Oates in support sold 105,218 tickets over 13 dates, but continues her artistic output.

Her memoir “Boys In The Trees,” borrowing from the title of her 1978 album and released in 2015, was followed by a 2019 sequel, “Touched By The Sun: My Friendship With Jackie,” recounting her friendship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She’s also been remixing, with her son Ben Taylor, her classic songs and continues to be covered by everyone from Radiohead to Gorillaz.

Jac Holzman’s 1970 roll of the dice and Jerry Brandt’s roll of the I Ching continue to pay dividends as Simon, with her 50-plus-year career, can now include the deserved title of “Hall of Famer.”