By Stephen Pate – Men can be such predators about sex. A new book Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–and the Journey of a Generation covers the 60s and 70s journey of female artist Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon.
These female artist became famous and their stories are interesting reading. Carly Simon worked for years trying to become a recording artist. Her encounter with Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman could have been a big break.
“Carly was brought to Albert Grossman’s attention (Bob Dylan’s manager). He wasn’t averse to proffering a version of the casting couch to women singers (at a time when the negative notion of sexual harassment didn’t exist). ”
“As Carly put it: “Grossman offered me his body in exchange for worldly success. Sadly, his body was not the kind you would easily sell yourself for.” Carly declined; Grossman apparently didn’t hold the rejection against her.”
Grossman wanted to develop Carly as a star.
He had the idea of an act called Carly and the Deacon, pairing her with a black male singer.
When the desired “deacon”, Richie Havens, declined, that idea was dropped, but Grossman still set out to produce an album for Carly.”
Grossman was married with a gorgeous wife, Sally Grossman, from the cover of Dylan’s “Brining It All Back Home” but felt he needed a little free sex on the side.
Sex for favors was not unusual back then. Singer Anne Murray was a young teacher trying to become a regular on CBC Halifax’s “Sing Along Jubilee” TV program in the 1960s. The producer, Bill Langstroth, got to bed her then later wed her in the process. Langstroth jump started Anne Murray’s career in return plus becoming a dysfunctional alcoholic husband. Murray admits part of the story in her autobiography All of Me. The rest I know because my father worked with Langstroth.
That was not the first time Carly Simon would have to turn down sex-for-favors with Dylan’s team. Texas producer Bob Johnston was brought in for Dylan’s recording sessions with “Highway 61 Revisited” through “New Morning.” Johnston also produced albums for John Cash, Simon and Garfunkel, and Leonard Cohen. When you see him interviewed, Johnston seems like a good old boy from Texas with frequent mentions of the Lord.
“The tracks of her album had to be mixed, and that was the job of sound engineer Bob Johnston. But Johnston held off – instead, dangling a quid pro quo: sex for sound-mixing.
“If you’re nice to me, I’ll make you a nice record,” he told Carly with casual impunity.
“It was amazing to actually hear it coming out of somebody’s mouth,” Carly recalls.
“I stood very calm, and said, ‘I’m not that hungry.'”
Unlike Albert Grossman, who could apparently get enough free sex to satisfy his libido, Bob Johnston was mean when crossed off your dance list.
“Johnston paid her back by refusing to mix the tracks and by bad-mouthing her to Grossman.
“Whatever Bob said to Albert, I was shelved,” she has said. “This was the end for me for a very long time. I was frozen.””
Carly Simon worked hard over the next few years until she broke onto the music in scene 1972 with “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be“. Her next song “You’re So Vain” was an international hit. Makes you wonder who she was singing about.
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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network