Carly Simon?s fondness for covering classic songs dates back to her 1981 Torch album, which made her one of the first artists of the rock era to record a set of standards. Last year?s orchestrated Moonlight Serenade was cast in a similar mold, but her latest, Into White, sports a more eclectic choice of material. Taking its title from an early Cat Stevens song, the album ranges from a bare-bones rendering of Stephen Foster?s ?Oh! Susanna? to a resplendent ?Over the Rainbow? to a slow-tempo version of the Beatles? ?Blackbird.? Recently Simon spoke with Goldmine about the new disc, her own songwriting, and her hopes for a new rock-oriented album of original songs with the legendary Booker T.
Goldmine: Some songwriters say that each album they make is a reaction to their previous album. Was that true in the case of Into White?
Carly Simon: That?s interesting. The album I originally wanted to make, this time, was an album with Booker T. He and I had been talking on the phone and sending each other lyrics and ideas for songs. I wanted it to be a really hard rock ?n? roll album, which definitely would have been a reaction to Moonlight Serenade. It turned out, though, that I had one more album on my contract with Sony. They came to me and said they didn?t think an album with Booker T. ? with my lyrics on it ? would sell. They felt the name ?Carly Simon? was synonymous with lullabies. I reacted a bit uppity at first, but then I thought, ?I love lullabies. This isn?t an unthinkable idea. In fact it?s an attractive idea.?
GM: Did you have any sort of template in mind for the album ? an album from the past, perhaps?
CS: Not really. This was the most spontaneous record I?ve ever done. We decided to do ?Into White? ? the Cat Stevens song ? first.