Famous Migraineurs: Carly Simon

by Nancy H. Bonk

Migraine disease affects nearly 37million Americans. A large majority of sufferers, more than 28 million, are women. Migraines place an unusually difficult burden on women during the prime of their lives, while raising a family and having a career. Carly Simon, singer/songwriter, wife and mother, has been able to do both despite being a Migraineur.

Ms. Simon began singing very early in life to help combat a stuttering issue. Her mother suggested she tap a beat rhythmically on her leg while she was speaking. This seemed to work so well that she started singing every time she spoke and hasn't stopped. She's won two Grammy Awards and an Academy Award and has recorded over 30 record albums. Some of her biggest hits include You're so Vain (my personal favorite), Anticipation, and Haven't Got Time For The Pain.

Never Been Gone is a wonderful, yet painful result of a mishandled set of circumstances between Ms. Simon and Starbucks. They were to release her album, This Kind of Love in 2008, but dramatically downsized the music division just a few days before its release date, which didn‘t help sales. This left Simon depressed and let down. Ben Taylor, her son with James Taylor, helped her through this difficult period by proposing another album. With the help of Sally Taylor, her daughter with James Taylor, and godson John Forte, they put together a new recording studio in her home on Martha's Vineyard and recorded Never Been Gone. This album includes reworked classic hits and a part of the proceeds go to The Carly Simon Music Therapy Initiative. Ms. Simon and the Berklee College of Music have worked together on this project because music therapy helped her so much as a child with stuttering.

Migraine has been a part of Carly's life for a many years. At times, she would try to be relaxed when she was with friends so her Migraine pain wouldn't get the best of her. This was especially true when she spent time with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (who was a dear friend and mentor) near the beginning of their friendship. Carly would occasionally leave her visits with Mrs. Onassis having a sore neck and Migraine. This was due in part from trying so hard to appear relaxed and comfortable. Ms. Simon now tries to avoid certain things she knows will trigger a Migraine attack.

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