On these shores, Carly Simon needs no introduction.
Well, there may be a couple of young wash-ashores who never heard her iconic voice, but there are lots of other folks on the Island who know her well. They had one question on Wednesday when news broke that she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
What took so long?
“This is the reaction I’ve gotten from everybody. It’s about time,” Simon said in a conversation with The Times. “The perception was I was already a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and people couldn’t believe this was my first nomination.”
Simon said she made up a story so she “didn’t get too hurt by the slight” about why she had been previously snubbed. Simon said she made a cameo appearance with Jann Wenner in the John Travolta movie “Perfect,” where she was supposed to throw a bloody mary in Travolta’s face for writing a bad review about her. Wenner, who is a founder of the Hall of Fame and publisher of Rolling Stone, flubbed his line several times, leading to Travolta having to change his shirt over and over again.
“I think Jann was embarrassed by that. At least that’s the story I made up for myself — and therefore his embarrassment leapt to me,” Simon said.
Simon enters with a class that includes Dolly Parton, Eminem, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, and Eurythmics.
“Her confessional balladry, gorgeous melodies, and catchy choruses made her a captivating voice among a new generation of singer-songwriters,” her online bio at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame states.
There’s no mention of her ties to the Vineyard.
Simon is known for her hits “You’re So Vain,” “Anticipation,” and the James Bond classic “Nobody Does It Better.” She was the first performer to ever win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy for a song composed and performed by a single artist, according to the site. That song was “Let the River Run” from the film “Working Girl.”
Her favorite songs aren’t the big hits, but the songs influenced by her home Island — Martha’s Vineyard. “There are certain songs that really resonate. One song that’s a Martha’s Vineyard song is called, ‘We Just Got Here.’ It’s about Labor Day on Martha’s Vineyard,” she said. “That’s on the album ‘Have You Seen Me Lately.’ Another song, ‘Raining,’ which never appeared on an album until it appeared on a boxed set called ‘Clouds in My Coffee.’ It’s all about being a kid on Martha’s Vineyard. The lyrics about it raining and being stuck in a house for two weeks when you hoped your vacation was going to include sunshine and riding the waves, but instead it just kept raining. Those are two songs that are lesser-known songs.”
The Island has always been an inspiration: “The majority of the songs I’ve written were written while I was on the Vineyard.”
According to the biography, Simon has influenced other artists, including Taylor Swift, who invited her onstage in 2013 to perform a duet of “You’re So Vain.”
Simon told The Times that’s gratifying. “What a huge compliment,” she said. “In the case of Taylor, she asked me to come and sing with her at Foxwoods … and it was so much fun. I’ve never sung for so many people except when I sang at Madison Square Garden.”
In making the case that Simon should be inducted, Stephanie Hernandez of Rock & Roll Globe wrote, “Carly Simon, the siren of Martha’s Vineyard, belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for helping shape popular music with her originality, making rock & roll that is uniquely feminine and universal, and providing the soundtrack to people’s lives.”
The induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
When she was inducted as ASCAP Person of the Year, the late Bill Withers made her introduction. “It was such a funny speech that I would have wanted him to do it again,” she said. “The two people who would be the most appropriate would be Cat Stevens or Robbie Robertson,” she said, noting that Robertson was the first person to produce her music as a solo artist. She opened for Stevens at the Troubadour.