Having just read Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines: The Life and Music of James Taylor, and having had many issues with that book, I picked up Boys in the Trees, Carly Simon’s memoir, so I could get the real story of the 1970s musical power couple.
Boy did I get it! Ms. Simon bares her soul, beginning with the details of a fairly dysfunctional childhood that clearly impacted every facet of her life, which fueled the development of an anxiety-laced stuttering problem and led to a successful singing career and ultimately, to a life with Taylor. This is a very personal examination, much like a psychiatric session or perhaps even a confessional with a priest. At times I felt her pain as if it were my own. Any woman who has been in long term, bad relationship will see herself in the romance and heartache of the Simon-Taylor union.
For those of you still hung up on the subject of "You’re So Vain," well, your question is answered. Sort of. Ms. Simon has had her share of famous and not-so-famous lovers along the way. I’ll leave it at that.
As far as her famously discussed stage fright, I’m brought back to my freshman year of college, when I had the good fortune of seeing her in concert in Boston. In the fall of 1980, I saw no evidence of anything other than a fantastic performance, one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. That’s not to say Ms. Simon wasn’t struggling with The Beast, as she refers to her psyche. I’m sure she was, but she put on one hell of a show.
Like most of us, Ms. Simon is riddled with insecurities. She is human after all. Fame doesn’t take away one’s deepest, darkest secrets and feelings. It’s a brave person who can share those with the world, especially one well known to the 1960s/70s generation. I applaud her for NOT being vain and NOT keeping her self-doubt to herself. Undoubtedly, it’s helped someone else see they are not alone. And there is great value in that.
Thanks for sharing, Carly. It was the right thing to do.