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Carly Simon: Inside story of singer's 1971 "Anticipation" / "The Garden" single

In celebration of Simon's 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, guitarist Jimmy Ryan recounts the creation of the "infectious" hit record and its fabulous flip side.
Carly Simon publicity photo, Arista.

Carly Simon publicity photo, Arista.

We celebrate the upcoming 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of Carly Simon with a gentle flip side and stories about both sides of her 1971 “Anticipation” single from her guitarist Jimmy Ryan, the author of Behind: Autobiography of a Musical Shapeshifter.

When it was announced that Carly Simon was nominated to be a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee this year, Jimmy Ryan told me that we could vote every day for her, as fans were permitted a daily vote of five favorites. Each day he and I voted for her and four other acts. We would like to think that our plan worked as Carly Simon was chosen to be among the acts to be inducted this November. As we get closer to the induction date, Goldmine will have more coverage on the upcoming inductees including Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics and Lionel Richie.

Goldmine first interviewed Jimmy Ryan in 2018 about his band The Critters, highlighting the flip side of their 1966 Top 20 hit “Mr. Dieingly Sad.” In 2021, we interviewed him about his book Behind: Autobiography of a Musical Shapeshifter, with extensive content on Carly Simon and his time as her guitarist on her first four albums. 

Carly 4 albums Vain2

In Jimmy Ryan’s book he stated, “We took an ensemble approach to the song ‘Anticipation’ and the result was an infectious locked groove. It became a hit record, not to mention a very successful ketchup commercial!” Regarding its flip side, he shared, “For ‘The Garden’ and most of the album, Carly wouldn’t allow us to be in the building while she created the basic track. ‘The Garden’ required tremendous vulnerability, and for that, she wanted to be alone in her fantasies, safe and unthreatened. Producer Paul Samwell-Smith and engineer Mike Bobak kept silent in the control room, one level above the studio and hanging over it. Carly sat downstairs on an oriental rug with vocal and guitar microphones. They dimmed the lights in the studio to give the impression of a beautiful evening just after sunset. Then she wove her magic. When I came in the following day to do my guitar parts on the song, I couldn’t believe my ears. I hadn’t heard the song before, nor had I ever heard her sing in such a breathy, subtle, sexy way. This one got the proverbial ‘Wow!’ She and I thought very much alike about guitar parts, so complementing her performance was easy. 

"I sat down, put on my headphones, picked up my guitar and turned my focus inward. I let the song take me. There was nothing to figure out. The tape rolled, the music began, and my fingers started moving like they were being led by an unseen force. The sheer quiet intensity of her singing was like a hypnotic wave and out came my backup guitar parts. Once they were done, we went to work on my solo. Again, the notes just fell out of the guitar while I sat there, eyes closed, immersed in the imagery and being in the moment. It’s a wonderful and rare experience when things flow this smoothly in a recording session. 'The Garden’ remains one of my all-time favorites of Carly’s songs." 

Carly flip side

Carly Simon

Fabulous Flip Side: The Garden

A side: Anticipation

Billboard Hot 100 debut: December 11, 1971

Peak position: No. 13

Elektra EKS-45759


Back cover endorsements from Carly Simon and Goldmine’s Warren Kurtz

Back cover endorsements from Carly Simon and Goldmine’s Warren Kurtz


Related Links:

Goldmine Shop has Carly Simon

Jimmy Ryan

Goldmine 2021 Jimmy Ryan and Carly Simon book interview