Watch out James Taylor — Stephen Colbert may be giving you a run for your money. After begging Carly Simon to perform her 1974 hit single Mockingbird, the Late Night show host managed quite the solid rendition of the song.
Now 70, the Bronx, NY-born singer/songwriter was on Colbert’s show to promote her new memoir (named after her 1978 record) Boys in the Trees and companion two-disc record Songs in the Trees (A Musical Memoir).
After asking Simon about her favorite song to perform with her longtime performing partner (and ex-husband) James Taylor, Colbert asked her to sing Mockingbird with him on the spot. “Can we try it? Can we try it,” he pleaded. When Simon eventually gave in, Colbert revealed that he doesn’t actually know the song all too well.
“But I really like the song,” said Colbert on his show. “It’s just, I’ve got you here. If you’re looking for somebody with that Carly Simon feeling, really, Carly Simon is the one you want to do it with.” And then, after a tentative beginning, the duo launched into a spirited performance in their seats. They were accompanied by Colbert’s house band.
Mockingbird was originally written and recorded by ’60s singers Inez and Charlie Foxx. Carly Simon recorded her version with James Taylor in 1973. After overcoming stage fright, she first performed the song with Taylor during his 1975 tour. Her rendition of the song, which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard singles chart, has sold over a million copies in the U.S.
The singer also performed a newly recorded track from Songs in the Trees called I Can’t Thank You Enough with her son Ben Taylor on Colbert (watch here via YouTube). The newly released 31-track compilation includes some of Simon’s earlier hits (You’re So Vain, Mockingbird, You Belong to Me) as well as deep cuts. She also finally revealed the subject of You’re So Vain: actor Warren Beatty.