Throughout the 1970s, you couldn’t turn on the radio or walk into a record store without Carly Simon’s melodic voice flowing from every speaker. A gifted songwriter with the musical talent to match, she made every track unforgettable, and decades later Carly’s music remains as catchy and as timeless as ever.
But for an artist who was never afraid to touch on raw emotion in her songs, the highs and lows that inspired her music have so far eluded even her biggest fans. You may know the hits, but these rare details about Carly Simon’s private life show new a side of the legendary songstress that her trademark smile never let on.
Of course, Carly’s early life sounds nothing like the origin story of one of the most iconic musicians of all time. Born in the Bronx borough of New York City, Carly seemed destined for a career in the literary world — after all, her father was a co-founder of Simon & Schuster.
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To top it off, Carly (middle left) developed a severe stutter at age eight that not even psychiatrists could cure. But while traditional means of treatment failed to fix her impediment, Carly soon found something that could.
Music. “I felt so strangulated talking that I did the natural thing, which is to write songs, because I could sing without stammering, as all stammerers can,” Carly recalled.
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After dropping out of Sarah Lawrence College in the early ’60s to pursue a music career, Carly teamed up with her sister Lucy to form the Simon Sisters. The short-lived duo released several albums of children’s songs, though after Lucy left to start a family, Carly found herself flying solo.
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She signed with Elektra Records in 1970, releasing her debut album Carly Simon a year later. Right off the bat, the song “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” became a top-10 hit and earned her a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards.
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That same year, Carly followed up with Anticipation, its lead single of the same name penned in 15 minutes as she waited for Cat Stevens to pick her up for a date. The song earned her yet another nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, establishing Carly as a star on the rise.
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Yet she actually exceeded these lofty expectations in 1972 when her third album No Secrets achieved Gold status by year’s end. The album’s monumental success was buoyed by the hit single “You’re So Vain,” which soon became more than just a biting profile of a self-absorbed lover.
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In addition to becoming one of the defining songs of the ’70s, “You’re So Vain” also became a subject of intense intrigue, with pretty much everyone dying to know who the song was about. Carly remained tight-lipped about the identity of her muse — fans, however, had a pretty good hunch as to who it was.
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Around the time of her breakout success, Carly’s marriage to fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor was making headlines — and not for the best reasons. The relationship was a dysfunctional one, though Carly wouldn’t single James out as her inspiration: if fans wanted the truth, they’d just have to keep listening.
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Fortunately, Carly gave them plenty of hits to listen to, as her albums Hotcakes (1974), Playing Possum (1975), and Another Passenger (1976) were all critically acclaimed. Yet even with another string of successes, Carly wasn’t done yet.
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In 1977, she released the single “Nobody Does It Better,” which served as the theme for the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. The song became Carly’s second-biggest U.S. hit, selling over a million copies and receiving Grammy nominations for Song of the Year.
A year later, Carly’s seventh album Boys in the Trees also proved to be a major hit. It was like everything the star singer put out was destined to top the charts — then came 1979.
That year, Carly released her final album with Elektra, Spy, which proved to be a commercial flop. She looked to the ’80s for a chance to bounce back, though the decade wouldn’t be too kind to the fading star.
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Despite the success of the song “Jesse” off her album Come Upstairs, Carly’s projects under Warner Bros. Records proved far less successful than her ’70s classics. She then signed with Epic Records in 1985, though after her 12th album, Spoiled Girl, flopped as well, the label cancelled her contract.
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Things looked bleak for the former chart-topper, but after signing with Arista Records in 1986, she found new life. Her 1987 album Coming Around Again and its title track became smash hits, propelling Carly back to superstar status once more.
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In 1988, Carly became the first artist to win an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy for a song written, composed, and performed by a single artist for “Let the River Run” from Working Girl. Yet this wouldn’t be the first time Carly would move beyond the music world.
She also began writing children’s books around this time, her first being Amy the Dancing Bear. She continued writing throughout the ’90s and ’00s, though at the end of the day, music was still her first love.
That’s why she continued touring up until the early 2010s, always sure to treat audiences to a timeless rendition of “You’re So Vain.” Yet even after all these years, fans are still wondering: who is the song really about?
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Well, while promoting her 2015 memoir, Carly finally revealed that the second verse is about actor Warren Beatty! But that begs the question — who are the other verses about?
While a handful of names have been thrown out over the years, the one that most people keep coming back to is rock icon Mick Jagger. Judging by his wild personality and rollercoaster ride of a life, the Rolling Stones frontman certainly fits the bill.
Born to a middle-class family in 1943, Mick Jagger enjoyed a happy childhood outside London. He enjoyed singing from his earliest days, and he almost never stopped. Whether in the shower or the church choir, he belted it out — though his tastes were a bit scandalous.
As he came of age, Mick felt the closest affinity to American blues singers like Muddy Waters. This music didn’t fit in with the ideals of respectable English life, but Mick wanted nothing to do with that. Soon, he met friends who felt the same way.
In 1961, Mick bumped into an old classmate, Keith Richards, at the Dartford train station. They didn’t know each other well, but like magnets, they attracted when they saw what the other was holding. Mick had a bundle of rock records, while Keith clutched a guitar.
Keith and Mick joined forces and played around London. In 1962, they responded to a newspaper ad for rhythm and blues musicians. The final lineup brought in Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman and took its name from the Muddy Waters’ song, “Rollin’ Stone.”
With British rock suddenly exploding on the charts, the Stones got serious and hired a manager. The caustic Andrew Loog Oldham transformed them into the anti-Beatles, with a crude attitude and shabby appearance. Still, they took one big idea from the Fab Four.
Oldham understood that performers writing their own songs would define the future of pop music. Banking on the natural chemistry of Jagger and Richards, he locked them in a kitchen one night and wouldn’t let them out until they penned a single.
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Crazy as it sounds, the plan worked! The Stones had hits with covers before, but now their original singles were setting the charts on fire. In 1965, the scorching “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” reached Number One all over the world. Still, stardom wasn’t all perks.
Authorities didn’t take kindly to Mick’s rebellious attitude, so they sought to take him down. In an overpowered sting, police raided a Stones party and arrested Jagger for drug possession. The singer evaded jail time but saw legal fees drain his bank account.
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Jagger’s personal life wasn’t the only source of strife. The musicians had to fire Brian Jones, an original Rolling Stone and close friend, when his substance use made it impossible for him to play. Brian drowned in his swimming pool a month later.
Even in the face of tragedy, the Rolling Stones kept pushing the envelope and pumping out the hits. They seemed invincible, outlasting every rock group of their generation. Of course, they all paused when they heard about a death warrant for Mick Jagger.
See, in the twilight of 1969, the Stones organized the Altamont Free Concert, a festival they hoped would top Woodstock. The short-sighted band hired the Hells Angels, a notorious biker gang, for security. Tragically, the thugs got out of control and murdered a fan right in front of the stage.
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Jagger and his bandmates swiftly denounced the bloodthirsty bikers, who vowed to seek revenge. The most ruthless Angels plotted to assassinate the singer throughout the 1970s, but it didn’t phase Mick. In fact, he took his career in completely new directions.
Already a dynamo onstage, Mick tried his luck in front of the camera. His starring roles in films like Ned Kelly and Performance got decent reviews. Notably, the singer almost nabbed the lead role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show before Tim Curry won the part.
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Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones continued success into the ’80s belied a fracture within the group. Mick’s growing flamboyance and attempt at a solo career enraged Keith Richards. For a long time, the lifelong partners stopped speaking to each other.
However, Mick believed he didn’t need Keith’s friendship. For one thing, he had the attention of countless beautiful women. He was married to the stunning Bianca Perez-Mora Macias for years before entering a long relationship with model Jerry Hall.
All the while, Mick carried on a number of other dalliances, which resulted in quite a complicated family tree. The frontman has fathered eight children with five different women over the years. Most recently, he welcomed a baby boy at age 73!
In every facet of life, Mick dedicated himself to being the consummate bad boy, but he received an unexpected honor in 2003. Britain knighted him! The singer accepted with a smile, though of course his old pal Keith accused him of selling out.
Despite the ego-fuel squabbles, the fans and music kept the Rolling Stones out on the stage. Although they surpassed retirement age, they sought to reach new heights, like when they played a free concert to a newly opened Cuba in 2016.
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But how long would Mick and company be able to keep it up? Fans feared the worst in 2019, when the Rolling Stones canceled a slew of concert dates so that their vocalist could undergo heart surgery.
However, Mick was back up and rehearsing in no time! He shared a video of himself practicing his dance moves to prove that he wouldn’t leave the limelight until he was bloody ready. Nobody else can quite move like Jagger.
Mick Jagger attained the rare status of a living legend; he’s been through it all. He savors any chance to talk over the glory days of rock and roll with old comrades like Paul McCartney. On occasion, they’ve recounted band secrets that haven’t been spoken of in decades.
For instance, The Beatles officially called it quits in 1970, and yet fans are still digging up new information on their legendary career. They aren’t just focused on the music either. Dark rumors still swirl around the band’s most terrible secret.
Drummer Ringo Starr may be the only person who knows the real truth. While he doesn’t like to address it in interviews, one question about a former bandmate still comes up again and again. Ringo admitted that it was a troubled time for the Fab Four.
See, ever since the mid-1960s, rock listeners have had questions about the whereabouts of Paul McCartney. Sure, he and Ringo appeared in public together as recently as 2018, but not everyone is convinced both men onstage were real Beatles.
How could that be? Since Beatlemania erupted on a worldwide scale in 1964, not one of John, Paul, George, or Ringo have been able to go anywhere without being recognized. They reached an unprecedented level of fame.
Everywhere they went, throngs of frenzied girls followed them. But after one 1969 radio broadcast, Beatles fans were screaming for a completely different reason. Many feared one of their heroes had met a grisly end.
One night, Detriot disc jockey Russ Gibb took a call from an anonymous source who claimed that Paul McCartney had secretly died and been replaced with a double. Russ entertained the crackpot for a while but never imagined listeners would believe him.
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In the ensuing weeks, tabloids and reporters began running the story as if it were fact. The “Paul Is Dead” rumors actually started years earlier – back when The Beatles stopped touring and changed their look — but now it had hit the mainstream.
Here’s the myth: Paul was speeding down a long-and-winding road one November night in 1966. Amid the icy conditions, he lost control of his car and veered into a pole, killing him instantly. Before the press picked up the tragedy, the band covered it up.
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Allegedly, manager Brian Epstein predicted that Paul’s demise would sink The Beatles and cause mass panic. So, in secret, he organized a search for a McCartney lookalike. They found their double in a man named William Shears Campbell.
At the same time, the three surviving musicians supposedly wrestled with extreme guilt. They could only bear it by hinting at Paul’s secret death and replacement. Before long, fans claimed to identify clues all over The Beatles’ catalog.
For example, conspiracy theorists thought the band’s alter-ego experiment in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was all a nod to the cover-up. The Beatles did name drop Billy Shears in “With A Little Help From My Friends,” after all.
Far-fetched as it sounded, a number of fans bought into the story. They pulled out photos of Paul from 1964 and 1967 and claimed there were enough facial differences to prove these were two different men! Naturally, they ignored the effects of aging and facial hair.
The Beatles added fuel to the fire by acknowledging the rumors in their work. For instance, a garbled voice appears at the end of the song “I’m So Tired.” When played backwards, it chants aloud, “Paul is a dead man. Miss him, miss him!”
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In addition, the cover of Abbey Road resembled a funeral procession. John led the way in a minister’s white outfit, Ringo followed in a black undertaker’s suit, Paul signified his death with a cigarette and no shoes, and George wore the blue-collar denim of a gravedigger.
With the Detroit radio broadcast, the “Paul is dead” conspiracy reached its peak. Though after The Beatles broke up in 1970, Paul disappeared from the public eye. Was there some truth to his downfall?
No, not so much. Following the band’s breakup, Paul and his wife Linda retreated to their Scotland farm. He did regular interviews to prove to everyone he was still alive and kicking, but a small group of naysayers just weren’t buying it.
Many hit singles and sold-out tours later, tinfoil hat wearers still insisted that this man simply wasn’t Paul McCartney. They alleged that the same impostor from 1966 was coasting off of The Beatles’ success, as he knew most people would never believe his secret.
Los Angeles Times
These days, Paul has mostly laughed off the hoax. Maybe the Fab Four shouldn’t have indulged the paranoids out there, but they were mostly just making fun of it. However, he admitted he did get into a crash in 1966.
Fortunately, this accident wasn’t nearly as horrific as the urban legend. The Beatle fell off his moped, resulting in him chipping his tooth. Paul actually grew a mustache shortly after to hide a small scar on his lip too!
As for Ringo, he never suspected his longtime friend of being replaced by a lookalike. That theory is simply too absurd and convoluted, he claims. Plus, The Beatles never could’ve found a quality double — there is only one Paul McCartney.