Rock Flashback: Carly Simon And James Taylor

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carly simon and ben taylor Rock Flashback: Carly Simon And James Taylor

Carly Simon and her son, Ben Taylor, 2010 (Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival/Joe Corrigan)

Legend has it that [lastfm link_type=""]Carly Simon[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]James Taylor[/lastfm] first met 40 years ago this week, following her performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. About 18 months later, they would get married, and for the next nine years made both records and babies together, while maintaining highly successful solo careers at the same time.

Simon and Taylor collaborated extensively during the ’70s; she appears as a backing vocalist on most of his mid-’70s albums. They also released two singles credited to both of them.

In 1974, Simon and Taylor released a cover of the early ’60s hit “Mockingbird,” which made the top 10. Here’s a terrific live performance from the No Nukes concerts in 1979. You’ll rarely see two people having so damn much fun.

In 1978, they covered the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Everly Brothers[/lastfm]‘ “Devoted to You.” Here’s a TV performance from 1978, but be careful before you click it — it’s the kind of song that’s likely to be in your head the rest of the day.

Simon and Taylor remained devoted until 1981, when they separated, finally divorcing in 1983. Taylor’s preference to tour instead of staying home with Simon and their two young children, as well as Taylor’s ongoing drug use, are the most frequently cited reasons for their breakup. They haven’t had much to do with one another since.

In 2002, Simon referred to herself as “a jukebox of ambivalence” about the marriage, and she told the Associated Press in 2008 that she feels “erased” from Taylor’s life — a sad-enough assessment, but sadder if you watch that performance of “Mockingbird.” They were obviously nuts about each other once.

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