Carly Simon, whose unparalleled career spans four decades of openhearted storytelling in both song and print, is being honored with the 2012 ASCAP Founders Award. In the early 1970's, Simon joined the singer-songwriters who changed the public's conception of pop music to an honest, sensitive and intelligent craftwork. Her signature style can be found in her chart-topping singles, award-winning film scores, collections of original music, a family opera and children's books.
Born in New York City, Simon's family was never short on talent. Her father, Richard L. Simon, was the co-founder of Simon & Shuster, and a pianist. Her mother was a singer, and sisters Lucy and Joanna, along with Carly, pursued it professionally. Carly and Lucy performed as The Simon Sisters in 1964, singing on college campuses and television shows, while recording three albums together.
Simon first performed as a solo act in 1971, supporting her self-titled release, which featured the breakthrough hit, "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be." By the time she released her second album, Anticipation, she was celebrating another Top 10 hit with its title track, headlining performances, and accepting the Best New Artist Grammy.
In 1972, Simon experienced her biggest success with No Secrets, which included "You're So Vain." The album sold millions of copies worldwide, occupied the #1 spot on the charts for six consecutive weeks and earned Grammy nominations in six categories. The single still captivates fans, not only with its distinctive hook and self-empowering theme, but also with the mystery of its inspiration – an ongoing secret that Simon keeps close.
After her marriage to James Taylor, Simon released Hotcakes, featuring her duet with Taylor, "Mockingbird." She then contributed to the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, where she sang "Nobody Does It Better." For the duration of the 70's, Simon focused on her two children – Sally and Ben – while continuing her success in music, with hit singles "Devoted to You" and "You Belong to Me."
In 1980, Simon released Come Upstairs, and though it produced the hit single, "Jesse," her personal life was turbulent. When she returned to recording, Simon branched out as an interpretive singer, recording classics "Body and Soul," "I've Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" and "I Get Along Without You Very Well," to complete her album, Torch.
Film directors Mike Nichols and Nora Ephron commissioned Simon to score Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge, This Is My Life and Working Girl. The latter film earned an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy for Simon's song "Let the River Run," making her the first and only female artist to win all three awards as a performer and composer. Simon earned more film credits in recent years with original songs written for two Winnie the Pooh movies.
In 1991, she composed the opera Romulus Hunt with librettist Jacob Brackman, which was produced by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Kennedy Center. Her new endeavors carried on; Simon also became a well-established children's book author, publishing five books in ten years.
Never one to rest for very long, Simon continues to create brilliant original material in all of her endeavors. ASCAP proudly presents her with our most prestigious honor, The ASCAP Founders Award, given to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Simon's unique style of creative genius will surely continue to enrich generations to come.