[Note: Carly Simon was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.]
On the face of it, Carly Simon would appear to be an obvious choice for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She was an immensely successful singer-songwriter who wrote her own songs, won numerous awards and has one of the most influential hits of all time in “He’s So Vain,” the source of a great deal of speculation about who said Mr. Vain was. She married another noted and well-regarded singer-songwriter, James Taylor (inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000), but her career was equal to his own, and so the fact that she has not been inducted is puzzling. To be sure, she has been inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame , so what is keeping her out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? It’s not as if she was any less rock & roll than any number of inductees from Cat Stevens to her ex-husband to Patti Smyth or Laura Nyro, some of whom have been far less successful as musicians. At any rate, as of writing this Carly Simon is not only not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but it does not seem as if many people are aware that she is not in, given that it would seem so obvious for her to be in it .
The Influence of Carly Simon
Carly Simon’s influence as a singer-songwriter is immense. In her personal life, she was married to James Taylor and the two clearly had influence on each other both in their songs as well as in collaborations like their hit “Mockingbird,” and she has influence through her children who are a part of the Taylor family of musicians. She also has had influence in other ways, as a successful musician whose songs have captured the mood of movies from “Nobody Does It Better,” a massive hit to a Bond movie to “Coming Around Again,” a hit song from the movie Heartburn, to her Academy Award-winning song “Let The River Run.” In addition to this, her songs like “You’re So Vain” have been sampled and covered, to the extent that, to give one example, Janet Jackson used it as the basis for a hit song of her own, “Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You).” And this is not even considering her own influence on other singers through her confessional and deeply personal performances, all of which speak highly to her lasting influence as a musician with songs that have been well-regarded and well-remembered, and filled with a deep and personal authenticity that ages far better than many of the songs of her peers.
Why Carly Simon Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Carly Simon’s career is quite obviously that of an immensely influential and successful musician worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Does one want to look at her memorable songs? Try this: “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” “Anticipation,” “You’re So Vain,” “Mockingbird,” “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain,” “Nobody Does It Better,” “You Belong To Me,” “Jesse,” Coming Around Again,” and “Let The River Run.” That’s a body of work any musician would be proud to have. Are you looking at sustained album success? Try this: a multi-platinum album, four platinum albums, and three gold albums in a career spanning decades that include certified studio, compilation, and live albums. Whether you are looking at her larger cultural influence through her work with film soundtracks and children’s albums, her model as a successful singer-songwriter, or her body of work, all of it is worthy of induction.
Why Carly Simon Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
I have no clue. Whatever the reason is, it’s not good enough. Hopefully she has her ex husband’s vote.
Verdict: Her career has been immensely successful, her influence has been a good one, and she has made a lot of music that would sound good from a jukebox in Cleveland. I don’t know what else there is to say. At the bare minimum she should be a shoo-in for songwriting and, like Carol King, for performer as well.
 See, for example: