Earlier this month, Carly Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a long-overdue recognition for the singer-songwriter whose thirteen U.S. top 40 hits include such radio staples as "Anticipation," "The Right Thing to Do," "Nobody Does It Better," "Coming Around Again," and the chart-topping "You're So Vain." Any fan of Simon knows that any live appearance is a true rarity-and the same was true back on April 2, 1995, when she performed her first full-length concert in 14 years for a stunned and surprised crowd of usually-jaded New Yorkers. On January 27, 2023, Live at Grand Central is coming to CD, LP, Blu-ray, and digital platforms from MRI and Legacy Recordings.
The genesis of Live at Grand Central began with Simon's close friend Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In 1975, the former First Lady had been appalled when the courts had voided the landmark designation of the venerable train station built in 1913; this action would have allowed the building to be transformed beyond recognition. Onassis was joined in the fight by the Municipal Art Society, a group which had pioneered the Landmarks Preservation Law after the historic Pennsylvania Station had been demolished in 1965 and replaced with the modern, dingy basement station familiar to commuters today. "If we don't care about our past, we can't have very much hope for the future," she told reporters at Grand Central's Oyster Bar. Jackie appealed to then-Mayor Beame, and he appealed to the court system. Her crusade was successful, and Grand Central remains a gleaming and majestic symbol of New York City today. (Carly shared her memories of Jackie in her 2019 book Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie.)
Jackie, for whom Carly had written the song "Touched by the Sun" for her 1994 album Letters Never Sent, had encouraged her friend to join in the ongoing efforts to preserve and restore Grand Central. She had suggested that Simon stage a concert there. Though Onassis had passed away almost a year earlier on May 19, 1994, Carly went ahead with the show in tribute to her. The 15-song show in the middle of the main terminal took commuters by surprise; it was an afternoon that fans in attendance would never forget. Simon performed five songs from Letters Never Sent (including "Touched by the Sun" in honor of Jackie) as well as selected favorites including "Anticipation," "Legend in Your Own Time," "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," "Jesse," "Coming Around Again," and the Academy Award-winning "Let the River Run." Notably, she did not perform "You're So Vain."
The Lifetime television network's cameras were there to preserve the concert. It aired just a few weeks later, on May 21, 1995, to coincide with an Intimate Portrait docu-special celebrating Simon. Later that year, Live at Grand Central was issued on VHS. Now, it makes its debut on Blu-ray as well as in audio formats (CD, LP, download/streaming) as newly remixed by Carly's longtime collaborator Frank Filipetti. The concert's "Like a River" is currently available to stream.
Live at Grand Central captures a vivid moment in the extraordinary career of Carly Simon. It arrives in all formats on January 27 from MRI/Legacy and can be pre-ordered at the links below.
Carly Simon, Live at Grand Central (MRI/Legacy, 2023)
- Touched by the Sun
- I've Got to Have You
- We Have No Secrets
- Haven't Got Time for the Pain
- That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be
- Letters Never Sent
- Legend In Your Own Time
- De Bat (Fly in My Face)
- Halfway Around the World
- Like A River
- Coming Around Again
- Let The River Run