“We would go to cocktail parties and bring our guitar and sing,” Lucy Simon told The New York Times in 2015. “And people loved it.”
Eventually, she added, they said to each other, “Let’s see if we can pay our way by singing.”
Carly was a student at Sarah Lawrence College and Lucy was studying at the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing in New York in the early 1960s when, during summer break, they took a bus to Provincetown, Mass. (They had wanted to hitchhike, but their mother squashed that plan.) They quickly landed a gig at a bar called Moors, whose musical act had just been drafted. They arrived for their first show in carefully selected matching blouses.
“Only later did we learn that the Moors was a gay and lesbian bar,” Carly Simon wrote in her 2015 memoir, “Boys in the Trees.” “What the mostly uncombed, ripped-jeans-and-motorcycle-jacketed audience made of these two sisters is lost to time. Lucy and I had taken our wardrobe at the Moors pretty seriously, and in return the audience probably thought we were twin milkmaids from Switzerland, or escapees from a nearby carnival.”
They called themselves the Simon Sisters, even though, as Carly Simon wrote, “Lucy and I agreed that our stage name sounded schlocky and borderline embarrassing, plus neither of us wanted to be labeled — or dismissed — as just another novelty sister act.”
In that book, Ms. Simon recalled the sisterly dynamic during that first foray into performing.
“Anyone paying close attention would have seen how hard I, Carly, the younger sister, was trying to look and act like Lucy, the older sister,” she wrote. “I was now taller than Lucy, but emotionally speaking, Lucy was still the high-up one, the light, the beauty, the center of it all. Then as now, my sister was my grounding influence, my heroine, my pilot.”