Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Kelli notes Carly Simon for Women's History Month

Kelli: I want to highlight the singer/songwriter Carly Simon who is someone I only really got into when her greatest hits (Reflections) came out last summer.

This is from a bio online:

Born in New York City on June 25, 1945, Carly was the third daughter of publisher Richard Simon and his wife, Andrea. The household was a cultured and highly musical one; Richard played the piano and Andrea sang, as did Joanna and Lucy, Carly's sisters. As the girls grew, Carly's and Lucy's harmonizing to folk melodies became something of a legitimate act. By the early sixties the Simon Sisters were performing in coffeehouses and small clubs throughout the Northeast. Two albums were released on the Kapp label, and in 1964 the sisters were asked to appear on the popular and nationally broadcast music hour, 'Hootenanny.'
When the Simon Sisters stopped touring due to the arrival of Lucy's first child, Carly Simon began her solo recording career. She moved to New York City and recorded the songs she had been writing. Eventually her tapes were brought to the attention of Jac Holzman of Elektra Records, who signed her to the label in 1970. "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" - with lyrics by friend Jake Brackman - was the hit single from her self-titled debut album. The Grammy Award for Best New Artist followed on its heels in 1972 . Carly Simon was suddenly among the very select female pop stars that spoke for and to women in the new decade of the 1970's.
The next few years and releases set Carly firmly at the top of her profession. An accomplished musician in her own right, Carly's guitar or piano playing figured from the start in most every song she recorded. Mega-hits like "Legend In Your Own Time" and "Anticipation," from her second album, established her both as star and as unique creative force. It was the age of the personal songwriter. Carly's songs, always born from and true to her own experience, set the standard. She wrote of her introspections, fears and joys, and it resonated with millions. No Secrets, her chart-topping album of 1972 , quickly became a staple in homes everywhere as "You're So Vain" climbed to number one and remained there for three weeks.
Throughout this period Carly was breaking ground on several fronts. It was the early seventies; pop songs, particularly those penned by women, were for the most part one-dimensional affirmations of love. Carly's work, from the tender doubts of "No Secrets" to the cooled anger of "You're So Vain," contained an edgy intelligence never before heard from a female songwriter. Nor had anyone so challenged the traditional image of women in the music industry. From the start of her career, Carly brought a bold sensuality to her lyrics and her album cover art. Long before other female artists were pushing the envelope on what was considered sexually provocative, Carly Simon's 1975 album Playing Possum was being pulled from stores shelves as being far too suggestive.

This year she will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to honor her many accomplishments.

She has released CDs and she has won two Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
I find a lot to relate to in her songwriting and was blown away by Reflections which led me to search out other CDs. My favorite songs include "Jesse" which was the first one that blew me away with that strong opening of "Oh mother say a prayer for me, Jesse's back in town . . ."

Of course I love "You're So Vain" but most people do. The tracks on Reflections are all favorites and I've gone on to find others. From Spy, I love "We're So Close" which breaks my heart. I also love all the songs on Have You Seen Me Lately? and Hello Big Man. But my favorite CD has to be The Bedroom Tapes which has such an amazing sound and so many wonderful lyrics. I love "Scar." I think that song has many levels and I loved it even before a friend told me that it was written about Carly's brave struggle with breast cancer.

She's an accomplished singer, songwriter and muscian who's raised two children, written children's books and lived quite a life so I wanted to highlight her.

Here is a sample of the lyrics to "Scar:"

A man I knew once said he wanted to see me
I said I'd been sick but was on the mend
I told him a few of the overall details
He said: That's too bad
And he's never called me again
What a gift in disguise that poor little puppy
So scared of misfortune and always on guard
A big man will love you
Even more when you're hurtin'
And a really big man
Loves a really good scar
Cause the dawn breaks
And it's breaking your heart
There's a wise woman
She sits at the end of the bar
She says: Look for the signs
You won't have to look far
Lead with your spirit and follow
Follow your scar

[Note: Kelli picked "Jesse" as her favorite song for "Community Members weigh in with their picks for favorite song."]