[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:
Carly Simon, The Breeders, Cher, Tina Turner (solo career), Cyndi Lauper, Dolly Parton, The Pointer Sisters, The Go-Gos, Chic, Liz Phair, Helen Reddy, Courtney Love, Carole King, Suzi Quatro, Olivia Newton-John, The Bangles, Sheryl Crow, Bette Midler, Diana Ross (solo career), Roseanne Cash, The Eurythmics, Joan Armatrading, Emmylou Harris, The Runaways, and the incomparable Pat Benatar are not in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. The 1970s Queen of Rock, Linda Ronstadt, was inducted a few years ago, 47 years after her first Top Ten hit “Different Drum,” in 1967. They waited so long to induct Linda that she could no longer sing due to advanced Parkinson’s – so she didn’t even bother to attend her own ceremony- who could blame her. If Janet Jackson can be considered as “finally” being inducted in 2018, then its high time that her more talented predecessors (references above) with far more Rock credibility are finally inducted. The RRHOF should have a special . induction ceremony for these women in rock , and induct these rock era women , whether Folk, New Wave, R&B, Country, Disco/Dance, Country Rock, Pop Rock, Classic Rock, alternative, Americana, you name it, while they can still sing and be deservedly recognized for their contributions.
Agreed, although rock cred doesn’t appear to matter to the RRHOF.
Carly Simon, Sonny & Cher, Bette Midler, Diana Ross (solo career), Tina Turner (solo career), Olivia Newton-John, The Pointer Sisters, Suzi Quatro, Helen Reddy, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, The GoGos, The Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles, and Sheryl Crow are not in the RRHOF. Neither is Pat Benatar.
That’s right; and most of those I have written about or will get around to at some point, soon, I hope.
It looks like Pat Benatar will get in on the 2020 class. She second in fan voting behind the Dave Matthews Band and just ahead of the Doobie Brothers.
I think there is a good case for Carly Simon, Cher, Tina Turner, Olivia Newton-John, the Pointer Sister and Annie Lennox.
I have written about most of those women, although Olivia Newton-John and the Pointer sisters remain to be written about.
Carly Simon is world class.
She was one of Rock n Roll’s true queens in the 1970s and one of its greatest singer songwriters.
At one point in that decade, Carly Simon and Janes Taylor were the highest paid couple in show business.
With Carly Simon the hits kept coming and coming and she went on to continue her success in the 1980s with movie soundtracks.
She’s won Grammys and Oscars.
Carly should already have been inducted into the RRHOF years ago. Hopefully 2020 will be her year.
BTW, Carly, Cher, Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross (solo career)), Tina Turner (solo career)). Olivia Newton-John, Suzu Quattro, The Pointer Sisters, The Runaways, The B52s, The Go-Gos, The Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles, and Sheryl Crow have still not been inducted.
I’m quite baffled that she hasn’t been inducted either, since she is certainly among the best-recognized and most accomplished 70’s singer-songwriters around and a lot of them have been inducted. Most of the people you note I have blogs about in this series but you remind me that there are a few of them that I should get on still.
I can’t believe Carly Simon and Carole King aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but Whitney Houston is. I never knew what criteria was used for induction. Look how long it took Journey, Yes, ELO, Chicago, and the Doobie Brothers to get in. If you were alive in the 70’s and 80’s you have to recognize they were some of the best acts of their time.
Technically speaking Carole King is in the RRHOF as a songwriter, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that she and Carly Simon aren’t in as performers. I don’t really know what excuses the voters and nominating committee have for that.
Carly Simon is an American treasure! That she has not been inducted makes ZERO sense, so seriously, WHY NOT?
I don’t know, considering how many of her other peers among the singer-songwriters of the 70’s and 80’s have been inducted who have less sales and fewer hits.
Still scratching my head over Stevie Nicks elected as a solo performer and not Diana Ross. Carly Simon not in is just as puzzling. Will be seeing Carly at the all-star tribute to her on March 19, 2020 at Carnegie Hall. I think there are still seats available, amazing.
Agreed. I think Stevie Nicks deserved to be in the RRHOF, but Diana Ross and Carly Simon both deserve it too as solo artists.
Carly Simon should have been inducted long ago. I’ll try two theories as to why it has happened. (1) I’m wondering if it’s because she failed to tour and hit the road and pay her dues. I know she has that phobia and it’s a legit excuse. But I have to wonder if some resent her for not touring. (2) Take away :”Fire and Rain” and Carly Simon runs circles around James Taylor as a singer/songwriter. But I also have to wonder whether or not the “ex” of James Taylor is being punished by the male-dominated music world. How else do you explain it?
It doesn’t make sense at all, I agree. Why would not touring be a problem? Being James Taylor’s ex may have something to do with it, though.
Surprisingly, Carly Simon hasn’t ever been nominated by the RRHOF. Ever.
Carly sold a lot of magazines when she was on the was on the covers of Rolling Stone magazines.
In the 1970s she and her then husband James Taylor were at one point, the highest paid power couples in the entertainment field.
Carly has been nominated for and won Oscars and Grammys, and a slew of other awards and honors.
She is a terrific singer-songwriter and had many hits in the 1970s and the 1980s:
That’s the way I always heard it should be”
“The Spy who Loved Me”
“Tired of being Blonde”
“Haven’t Hot Time for the Pain”
“You’re so Vain”
“We have No Secrets”
And many others.
Her peers have been inducted.already-,Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, and Linda Ronstadt.
And other female artists from the 1969s & 1970s have been inducted – Deborah Harry, Aretha Franklin, Chrissie Hynde, Donna Summer, Heart, Abba, Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, and Diana Ross.
So why not Carly?
She hasn’t even been nominated.
Is Jann Werner one of the people in “You’re So Vain?” There aren’t many other options that would make sense.