Carly Simon and James Taylor. It was a romance literally willed into existence… at least according to Simon. In her memoir Boys in the Trees, she reiterated a tale in which she picked up a copy of Time magazine that had a photograph of Taylor on the cover and promised the universe, “I am going to marry him.”
How Did Carly Simon and James Taylor Meet?
Simon and Taylor didn’t so much have a first meeting as they did several. The first time they were in each other’s presence was when Simon and her brother Peter stopped at the Taylor family’s Martha’s Vineyard home to speak to James’s younger sibling Livingston.
According to Taylor, “I passed Peter and Carly and said, ‘Hi,’ and Peter said, ‘Hi, this is my sister Carly,’ and then I left.” At another indiscernible point in time, Taylor found himself sitting in an audience that Simon and her sister, Lucy, were singing to.
On still yet another occasion, Taylor caught sight of Simon on a street corner, confused her with another female acquaintance, and followed her on that mistaken assumption.
Their first “real” meeting occurred on April 6, 1971, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California. Singer Cat Stevens was the venue’s headliner and Simon his opening act. Taylor had attended the show to support his friend Russ Kunkel, who played the drums in Simon’s band.
The pair took to each other immediately and Simon apparently offered to provide Taylor — four years her junior — a home-cooked meal whenever he desired one. Wanting to call the good looking songstress’s bluff, Taylor replied, “Tonight?”
Although the promised dinner was not forthcoming, and they did not see each other for many weeks in the interim, by the fall of 1971, Simon and Taylor were dating.
In no time flat, they were sharing Simon’s New York apartment and the domicile served as the location of their wedding, which took place on November 3, 1972. It was a modest, private affair but its aftermath was announced to the thousands of fans that attended Taylor’s midnight concert at Radio City Music Hall.
Within five years, the Taylors had welcomed two children — Sarah “Sally” Maria (born January 7, 1974) and Benjamin “Ben” Simon (born January 22, 1977) — and had recorded and performed numerous songs together including Mockingbird and Waited So Long.
All Good Things…
By 1981, the bloom was off the proverbial rose and the couple separated. Two years later, the marriage was dissolved — its failure the cumulative result of rampant infidelity on the part of both spouses and Taylor’s years-long addiction to heroin.
Carly Simon and James Taylor Are Reunited
Post-divorce, and for the 15 years that followed, Simon and Taylor had little to no interaction with one another. However, they agreed to share a stage together in aide of Livestock 95, a benefit concert for the Martha’s Vineyard Agriculture Society.
Taylor’s set was first. Then he introduced his ex. “Let’s get Carly out here!” During her solo performance, Simon dedicated Nobody Does It Better to Taylor. Later, the pair sang Mockingbird.
According to an article originally published by Entertainment Weekly, “The two danced cheek to cheek in front of another wildly cheering crowd…and for a moment, it was the way they always heard it should be.”
In 1997, Simon was diagnosed with breast cancer and the incident precipitated her final interaction with Taylor. The visit he paid to her New York apartment was brief and as he got up to leave, Simon reportedly told him that, “If you ever think of me, just give me a call.
“Even if we’re just silent on the phone together, that would be so nice.” Taylor’s rueful response? “If I called you every time I thought of you, there would be little time for anything else.”