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More Room In A Broken Heart

The True Adventures of Carly Simon

Veteran Rock Journalist and Close Personal Friend of Carly Simon Pens First and Only Biography of the Elusive Rock Icon

By Stephen Davis

I know the author [Stephen Davis], so there’s integrity. He’s interviewed me over the years; he knows my family. He’s a good guy. He has written many books about rock and rollers.” – Carly Simon

For several generations of music fans, the name Carly Simon is synonymous with chart-topping hits, headline-making romantic involvements, and inspirational songwriting.  Along with other trail-blazing singer songwriters, such as Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Simon broke new ground in the early 70s with soul-baring songs that melded perfectly with women’s experiences at the dawn of the feminist era. With her first string of hits that included “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be,” “You’re So Vain,” and “Anticipation,” Simon created a reciprocal relationship with her fans--speaking directly to their lives by sharing glimpses of her own—and has continued to do so for four decades.

In MORE ROOM IN A BROKEN HEART: The True Adventures of Carly Simon (Gotham Books), veteran rock journalist, author of the NYT bestselling Hammer of the Gods, and personal friend to the Simon family, Stephen Davis provides an intimate and compelling look at the truly extraordinary life that inspired the music.  

Having known Carly Simon and her family for 40 years, Davis has had a front row seat (sometimes literally) to many of the turning points in Simon’s life and career. He has mined family archives, unpublished interviews and first-hand accounts from Carly Simon, as well as photographs by her brother, rock photographer, Peter Simon, to create the most complete portrait to date of the provocative yet elusive Carly Simon.

The lyrics of Simon’s very first hit, “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be,” released in 1971, provide a glimpse into the privileged but difficult childhood that shaped her.  The daughter of Richard Simon, co-founder of publishing giant Simon and Schuster, Simon grew up in a fiercely artistic and creative household, in which she strove incessantly, but as Davis reveals, in her mind unsuccessfully, to keep up with her beautiful and talented older sisters and win her father’s love and approval.  Both of her parents had long-term extra-marital affairs that left her confused and insecure.  

The passion for music was the one constant in her family life, one that was bolstered by genuine talent on both sides of the family and her parents’ close friendships with George Gershwin, Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein and Arthur Schwartz, among countless others, who were all known to join in parties and sing-alongs at the Simon home.  It was no surprise then, that Simon and her sister Lucy would catch the folk music wave of the sixties, forming “The Simon Sisters” duo and recording several albums together.  But when Lucy decided to follow a different path, Carly forged ahead on her own, determined to have a solo career writing and recording songs.  

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Stephen Davis discusses Carly Simon & More!

The immediate success of her first album propelled a reluctant Simon into the spotlight where she was expected to promote her work with live shows. Famously phobic about performing in public, Simon has made sporadic attempts at touring throughout her solo career, but the most fateful of these her appearances was the first, at L.A.’s Troubadour, where another new, young star, James Taylor, was in the audience.  Davis provides the most revealing account yet of the decade-long romance and marriage, detailing an often loving, but also painful and unpredictable relationship, strained from the start by Taylor’s addiction to heroin.  They each produced hit records and albums throughout their marriage, as well as a son and a daughter.  The professionally competitive nature of their relationship and Simon’s tendency to channel her experiences into her songwriting helped both produce some of the best music of their careers, according to Davis.  

Davis also chronicles the touching, and sometimes amusing details of Simon’s many romantic relationships and professional partnerships, from a prom date with her classmate Chevy Chase and early flings with Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Kris Kristofferson, to her long term (and jealousy inducing) friendship with Mick Jagger, who famously sang backup vocals on “You’re So Vain.”

As musical tastes changed through the decades, Simon faced many challenges and doubts from producers, music company CEOs and sometimes fellow musicians.  But, Davis demonstrates, Simon continued to surprise and succeed by writing from the heart and trusting her own musical instincts.  She pushed herself in new directions in order to continue growing as an artist, including writing an opera, recording an album of standards before anyone thought it was a good idea, and accepting Mike Nichol’s offer to write the themes to two of his films. The result was two of her biggest hits, “Coming Around Again,” and the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning “Let the River Run.”

Simon has faced similar challenges in her personal life, according to Davis, including a rocky, though 17-year-long second marriage and divorce and, in recent years, the discovery of cancer and a mastectomy.  He also writes of her close friendship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the pain of losing both her and her mother within a year of each other.  

Carly Simon’s music and life have always been deeply intertwined, and woven in and out of Davis’s account are fascinating anecdotes about the stories behind the songs and the recording sessions whose participants read like a who’s who of rock-and-roll, including Robbie Roberson, Carole King, Paul McCartney, Billy Preston, and Dr. John.  Her extraordinary catalog of music led to her induction in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.

With this compassionate and honest account, Davis fills in the spaces between Carly Simon’s songs, shedding welcome light on a legendary American artist.

America’s preeminent rock journalist, Stephen Davis is the author of numerous biographies, including the New York Times bestseller,
Walk This Way (co-authored with Aerosmith) and, most recently, LZ-75, about Led Zeppelin’s legendary 1975 tour.  He lives in Boston.