Annotated List of Errors in Carly Simon book More Room In A Broken Heart [UPDATED]

Preview copy of More Room In A Broken Heart

Since our article on the questionable book More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon by Stephen Davis, there have been some more developments, including some exclusive information.

Yesterday Davis spoke with Pat Healy of the New York edition of Free Daily News’ Metro. In the article, Davis admits to breaking a promise with Simon and jokingly agrees with the claims of plagiarism made against the book.

I’m being accused of possible plagiarism, and I thought about it and it’s like, ‘No, it’s probable plagiarism.’ In a 400-page book, that’s probably about 1,600 paragraphs, I’d probably have a heart attack if one of them wasn’t copied.

He also confirms the absence of some standard elements of a non-fiction book.

There’s no bibliography, there’s no index, and I’m paying the price for that in a way, but I guess in the paperback edition we’ll do some more extensive acknowledgments.

Davis mostly blames the publisher for rushing the book to print for all of this.

The article also claims that Carly Simon has been making her displeasure with the book known through “various press outlets”, as though she’s orchestrated some kind of media campaign. But so far it’s only been Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 speaking out about his own work being lifted by Davis and other independent outlets. The only direct action taken by Simon was her brief statement through her mailing list and web-site. The majority of protest taken against the book has come from a grassroots movement of Carly Simon fans that have risen up over disappointment from the book. Otherwise most book reviews seem completely ignorant of the controversy surrounding the book.

The pink elephant in the room that the article completely side-steps is the issue of the book’s numerous errors. Davis said he sent a galley copy of the book to Simon, and apparently she’s not the only person that received a copy. The Troubadour Tribune was contacted by another recipient who wishes to remain anonymous. As you can see from the picture above, they made some notes in their copy. This person’s corrections reveal extensive knowledge of Carly Simon’s known history, readily available from previous interviews and publications if one were to dig just a bit deeper. Also included are the startlingly insipid song interpretations apparently made in the book. These notes are presented below with only minor changes for formatting and clarity. (Galley copies are, by nature, an uncorrected version of the book for proofreading/copy editing purposes, but are often distributed for promotion and reviews. Some of these errors may be corrected in the published version. One would hope. For comparison, Google Books has a very extensive preview of the book, nearly all of it.)

UPDATE: The book has since come out and a reader has verified that all of the below errors are in the published book.

Excerpts from book – Here’s the TRUTH

Her output – 30 albums as of this writing, not to mention the Oscar winning film Scores, an opera and five books.

TRUTH: Carly won an Oscar for ONE SONG, not a film score or scores (plural)

 [Carly Simon’s mother Andrea Simon] had an usual style, pairing her mother’s elegant velvet dresses with saddle shoes and no makeup.

TRUTH: Her mother never dressed that way.  Davis took this description of Andrea from Carly’s lyrics to the song “Hello Big Man,” which was fiction that Carly created.

 Late 1969.  There was a much-anticipated total eclipse of the sun in the Northeast.  In was considered a special cosmic event.  […]  Some of Jake’s friends were talking about chartering a plane to fly to Nova Scotia, where the observer would achieve total totality.

TRUTH: Jake Brackman denies this, PLUS consider this:  Two solar eclipses were visible from Nova Scotia on 3-7-70 and 7-1-72, but not in 1969.

Late June 1971.  Carly wanted Mick Jagger as well. […]  If only she could somehow entice him to her recording sessions in London, she felt she could get him to sing on her record, something that Jagger had never done outside his own band.  Getting Mick to sing would be an incredible coup, and Carly imagined pulling it off.

TRUTH:   Mick called her in the studio in London and she invited him down to listen to her record and he ended up joining in.  There was never any “plot” or “plan” to get Jagger on her record.

In 1937, Gershwin died of a heart attack in Hollywood, not even forty years old.

TRUTH: He died on July 11, 1937 at the age of 38 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital following surgery for a brain tumor.

Dick bought an entire apartment building, at 130 West Eleventh St.

TRUTH: The address is 133 West Eleventh St.

When Carly musically annotated the song, she titled it “You’re So Lame” on the score.

TRUTH:  It was titled Ballad Of A Vain Man before becoming You’re So Vain

The wedding guest list [for the marriage of James Taylor and Carly Simon] was small: Andrea Simon and Carly’s sisters,  James’ mother and siblings, Jake Brackman (semi-catatonic, unable to speak for reasons unknown), and the judge.  Peter Simon documented the wedding with his camera.

TRUTH: The only guests were Andrea Simon, Trudy Taylor, Jake Brackman and the judge.

Carly was in Hawaii then, on her honeymoon.

TRUTH:  Carly and James did not honeymoon in Hawaii.  They went there before they were married.  Photos taken were then used on the cover of Rolling Stone.

It was generally agreed that Mick Jagger – with his participation on “You’re so Vain” and “Night Owl” – had bestowed the Rolling Stones’ sacred imprimatur on Carly Simon.

TRUTH:  Mick Jagger did NOT sing on Night Owl.  It was Paul McCartney.

Carly made Richard Perry beg for the job of producing Hotcakes.  She thought he’d been too rough with her in London, had bullied her, and she let him know she was shopping around.  Perry took her to lunch at the Tavern on the Green, in early June.  She let him plead awhile, and said she would think about it.

TRUTH:  Carly and Richard Perry had already started making songs for Hotcakes at the end of the No Secrets sessions.  She never made him beg and she wasn’t unhappy with him as producer.

Fall 1974.  James was no father figure. […]  As he often told his audiences – he wasn’t crazy about children.

TRUTH:  James Taylor had a one year old daughter (Sally) that he was madly in love with.   Davis is taking something out of context and using it to imply that James didn’t like his own child.  (See pg. 190-191) During concerts for Mud Slide Slim in 1971, “he usually introduced Sweet Baby James by insinuating that he didn’t really like children, which made the audience laugh.”

[Playing Possum album cover] The sexy picture of Carly on her knees wasn’t her first choice.  “I like a more ordinary, mundane shot of my teeth.”

TRUTH: Both Carly and her manager Arlyne zeroed in on that shot from the contact sheet.  “We both knew it was a great picture, and we were prepared to fight for it, Arlyne says.  They didn’t have to, the record company never intervened.

[Boys In The Trees album cover] A nipple reportedly had to be airbrushed into detumescense before Elektra would print the album jacket.

TRUTH:  The photo featured on the front cover of this album was expertly airbrushed to paint a Dankskin top ON what was a topless photo of Carly originally.   It won a Grammy for Best Album Design.

Spring 1979.  John Travolta knocked at the door of Apartment 6s one evening.  He was staying in the building and wanted to meet James, who wasn’t home.  Carly entertained Travolta instead, and the two became good friends.  When his longtime girlfriend, Diana Hyland, died a few weeks later, Travolta practically moved in with Carly and the children.

TRUTH:  Diana Hyland died on 3/27/77 – two full years before spring of 1979.

[Carly’s Pittsburgh concert collapse] She suddenly began to menstruate prematurely, a condition related to stress.  “I couldn’t get the words out,” she recalled.  “I seemed to go to pieces in front of the audience.  There was blood everywhere.” […] She told the audience that she might feel better if people came onstage, rubbing her back, legs and shoulders.

TRUTH: She didn’t begin to bleed until the people were already onstage comforting her.  As soon as she realized she was bleeding, she left the stage.

The video for “You Know What To Do” […] did not make it onto MTV.

TRUTH:  The “You Know What To Do” music video had tons of airplay on MTV.  Carly was even invited to the 1983 MTV Music Awards and was interviewed by Nina Blackwood backstage. 

Sep. 83 – Carly appeared on David Letterman’s late night TV show, but it didn’t help sell her record.

TRUTH:  The first time Carly appeared on Letterman’s show was in 1987 to promote the Coming Around Again album.  She never appeared on any late night shows in 1983.

[Live From Martha’s Vineyard concert] The first night, the wind blew in hard from Vineyard Sound and the entire taped footage was unusable.

TRUTH:  The first night IS the footage used by HBO – not the second night.  Carly explains this on the DVD and this Youtube video.

[Working Girl movie plot] The script was a Cinderella tale of a Staten Island secretary, working on Wall Street, who attracts the company’s boss.

TRUTH: Melanie Griffith’s character is employed by Sigourney Weaver.  The person she “attracts” works for another firm and is not her boss.

Let The River Run – used by the government to calm the nation after 9/11/01

TRUTH: USPS used it (which is NOT a government agency) in a commercial, which ran after the anthrax mailing scare

Late in 1992 […] Carly asked her husband to leave because he was using cocaine and she didn’t want him around the children.  He moved into the apartment he had kept in New York until Sally and Ben returned to their schools early in the new year.

TRUTH:  Carly’s husband Jim was clean and sober in 1992, as he was well into the 2000’s.  This is complete FICTION.

Carly took Sally and Ben for a winter vacation on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. (Jim Hart’s support of Carly had reportedly been less than heroic during the cancer ordeal, and the couple never really lived together after that.)

TRUTH:  Jim has always been extremely supportive of Carly and her cancer ordeal.  This is complete FICTION.

In 2006, Carly Simon divorced her second husband, with whom she remained on friendly terms.

TRUTH: It was 2007.

On the appointed day for the revelation, Ebersol arrived at Carly’s house with six friends.  Carly thought this rude, but told them some version of the secret.  If it got out, she said, she would simply deny it.  Later she told an interviewer that Dick Ebersol was a jerk.

TRUTH:  Carly was joking with a reporter in the UK when she said this, Davis left out that part.  She also said about Davis’ best buddy (Carly’s brother Peter Simon) “Oh, there are more than that. [Carly’s son] Ben knows. And [Carly’s daughter] Sally. My brother knows and, little shit that he is, he went into a computer store and was trying to make a deal to get his computer fixed fast in return for saying who “You’re So Vain” is about.”

Asked by several British interviewers who “You’re So Vain” was about, she replied, tongue in cheek, that the song was about David Geffen.

TRUTH:  Untrue.  Carly never joked that it was about Geffen – she flatly denied it.  

From the Daily Mail: “What a riot! Nothing to do with David Geffen.”  And the only person Simon has ever told about the identity of her lover in the tune also backed her up.   Read more at the link.

Excerpts from book – Say What?

This book can be quite confusing to read.  See if these make sense to you:

The summer months were usually spent by Carly on the island with their children, while James went out on the road. (Next paragraph) =  In 1973, the couple moved to a house…..where Carly became pregnant in March.  

Hmmm.  So, she stays at home with her children (plural) before she is even pregnant with her first child.  Ok.  Whatever.

Carly enjoyed pregnancy…..You’re so Vain had been the number one song is America for three weeks, but Carly now was semi-retired. (Next page)  In the summer of 1973… Carly was working on songs for her next record, scheduled to begin production in September.

Carly was hardly semi-retired in early 1973 – with a # 1 hit song on the radio and she was working on songs for Hotcakes, which she was about to record in a few months!

From day one, they got word that David Geffen was complaining that Carly’s album Hotcakes was too expensive.

Really?  On the first day of recording they’d already gone over budget????  Sure.  Sure Mr. Davis, that sounds logical.

p 161 – 1971 [while recording Anticipation]  Now Carly heard that Mick Jagger was in London, and she told her people that she needed to meet him.  She received an invitation to the Rolling Stones Records press party. […]  Introduced briefly to Mick, she importuned him about singing on her record, but he explained that he was preoccupied with making the new Stones album, then was swept away.p 199 – May 1972 “It was very strange, that first meeting, because I expected to look so much like him.  People were always commenting on the resemblance.  I expected to walk into a mirror.”

WOW.  Wish I could meet Mick Jagger for the first time, TWICE!!

Spring 1979.  John Travolta knocked at the door of Apartment 6s one evening.  He was staying in the building and wanted to meet James, who wasn’t home.  Carly entertained Travolta instead, and the two became good friends.  When his longtime girlfriend, Diana Hyland, died a few weeks later, Travolta practically moved in with Carly and the children.  

Diana Hyland died on 3/27/77 – two full years before spring on 1979.

Excerpts from book – Really Bad Writing

These are just a few examples of how this author writes (my 5 year old really like them!) [Emphasis added in bold.]

Somehow Carly got through eight concerts in late October before arriving in Pittsburgh, where – like Three Mile Island – her cooling systems failed and she suffered a partial core meltdown.

Carly was also blamed for a sleazy magazine profile of her that appeared in Vanity Fair that summer.  “I Never Sang for my Mother” was written by an ex-wife of Jonathan Schwartz, so the Simon family secrets tumbled out of the glossy monthly like spoiled fruit.

And that her oncologist had recommended peas as a healthy midnight snack, so she could sometimes be found, late at night, staring at the microwave oven, watching little green cups going around and around.

Mick Jagger was now with Jerry Hall because she always gave him a blowjob before letting him out of the house.

Excepts from book – Ridiculous Song Descriptions

Author Stephen Davis doesn’t think much of Carly Simon’s music as evidenced by these ridiculous and myopic song descriptions.

“The Carter Family”: a little waltz with verses about missing old friends and lovers, and especially Grandma, whose criticisms were usually wise.

“His Friends Are More Than Fond of Robin”: a romantic ballad

“Waited So Long”: a country rocker that Linda Ronstadt could have sung, if she’d wanted to tell her daddy that she was no longer a virgin anymore.

Slave: an anthemic, embarassing de-affirmation of everything the women’s movement of the seventies stood for.  The lyrics were banal and cring-worthy.

Waterfall: about the female orgasm

Attitude Dancing: with Jake Brackman’s proto-New age lyrics.

When You Close Your Eyes: a lullaby for insomniacs

Look Me In The Eyes: Another cry, from deep in the singer’s heart, for more intimacy, more passion, more love.

Slave: It only made it onto Playing Possum because Carly had a fit and threatened to walk out if it was left off. [Completely UNTRUE.]

More and More: Carly sings the lyrics very soul-style, perhaps in tribute to her longtime idol Martha Reeves. [Carly never idolized Martha Reeve’s.  Perhaps the author is thinking of Odetta and got yet another thing wrong!]

Are You Ticklish: is old-fashioned and corny.

Riverboat Gambler: is a piano ballad that pleads for access to a tight-hearted lover, someone like Carly’s remote and preoccupied husband.

Darkness Til Dawn: Listeners experience more marital discord here, more quarrelling all night, more of Carly thinking (hard) about a love from another era (often Dan Armstrong).  [Lyrics by Jake Brackman – NOT Carly Simon.]

Dishonest ModestyThe song has critical lyrics about a selfish friend with authenticity issues.

One Love Stand: a generica L.A. shuffle that makes Carly sound like Bonnie Raitt.

Fairweather Father: a pretty samba about a husband who doesn’t do diapers.  The wife is desperate.  Her husband is a prick who ignores her and her child.  Carly always said that James was not the fair-weather father of the song, but of course no one believed her.

Cow Town: The song could have been a broadway showstopper, with its lusty chorus and with Little Feat providing the drive.

He Likes To Roll: with lyrics about a woman chasing a man she already owns.

In Times When My Head: a confidential message to the listener about a marriage with infidelity on both sides.  There’s another man in the lyric, the “boy in the backwoods.” [What was this?]

Stardust: a blatantly explicit homage to Mick Jagger, with whom her husband still suspected her of carrying on a long-term affair.

Them: a song about aliens

Jesse: a song about a woman’s ambivalent feelings for an incontinent lover who wets the bed and needs fresh sheets […] By the end of the lyrics, she decides to put fresh sheets on the bed.

The Wives Are In Connecticut: a topical narrative of bourgeois adultery.  The husband is having an affair at the office downtown, but the suburban wife is fucking the entire state of Connecticut behind his back.

Spoiled Girl: a song about a woman who has too much, and thinks only of herself.

Interview: in which Carly turns the table and seduces her interviewer, even seemingly offering an invitation to outright oral sex.

We Just Got Here: a sweet lullaby about returning home to an island in hurricane season. [it’s about LEAVING the Island]

Holding Me Tonight: a Sting-like adultery-contemporary pop song

It’s Not Like Him: a New Age soap opera

The Bedroom Tapes compact disc was released in early May 2000.  The new music spoke to the trauma of postcancer therapy and the (for Carly) joyous release of retail therapy, or shopping.

The lead track, “Our Affair,” is an old-fashioned, seductive Carly Simon song that could have been on No Secrets or Hotcakes.  “So Many Stars” is about yearning for love in Manhattan.  “Big Dumb Guy” is a loosey-goosey rap, partly on life in front of a computer screen, partly on God knows what.  “Scar” is like a mastectomy two-step, with a wonderful chorus about the old wise woman who could have been her mother, Mrs. Onassis, or Carly herself.

The album continues with “Cross The River,” a surreal narative of a boat ride on the Hudson River.  “I Forget” is a torch song of illness, anguish, and recovery.  “Actress” is pointed and uncomplimentary.  The confessional “I’m Really The Kind” has imitations of seriously low self-esteem.  The faux-paranoid rock song, “We Your Dearest Friends,” is about the hordes of freeloading guests who descended on Hidden Star Hill every summer: clogging the guest rooms, lounging by the pool, fueled by pills and powders, bugging the staff, charging unauthorized restaurant meals to Carly’s account, and then talking behind her back about how horrible she was.  “In Honor of You George,” the song that begins in self-pity and ends in a surge of hope amid the swooning orchestration.

About Corey Blake

Corey Blake does things on the Internet, and sometimes even in real life.
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4 Responses to Annotated List of Errors in Carly Simon book More Room In A Broken Heart [UPDATED]

  1. Pingback: Looking For Real People

  2. Richard says:

    OMG – that book really IS pathetic! I looked at reviews for his other books on Amazon and they all pretty such signal that Stephen Davis is a hack of a writer. He must make money for the publisher with this garbage. It’s too bad, because I was really looking forward to a well done, in depth look at Carly Simon.

  3. Pingback: Carly Simon Writing Autobiography/Memoir | The Troubadour Tribune

  4. Dan Silagi says:

    The canonical list of errors omits a few:

    Duke Snider was not one of the black pioneers in Major League Baseball. He was white.

    Carly didn’t sit on Phil Rizzuto’s lap when she attended Dodger games. Certainly not in the Brooklyn Dodger dugout; Rizzuto played his entire career with the NY Yankees. All I have to say about this one is HOLY COW!

    As far as “Slave” goes, it tells of conflicted feelings for a man which was and is the usual case in relationships. It is not about being a “slave” at all. What does Davis want (or think the record company wanted)? “I am Carly, hear me roar?”

    The biggest error belongs to the publisher (not Simon & Schuster) who published this dreck.

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