That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be

"That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" is a 1971 song performed by Carly Simon, and the lead single from her self titled debut album Carly Simon (1971). Her friend and frequent collaborator Jacob Brackman wrote the lyrics and Simon wrote the music. The song reached peak positions of No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 6 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.[1]

"That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be"
Single by Carly Simon
from the album Carly Simon
ReleasedApril 1971
FormatVinyl, 7", 45 RPM
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Carly Simon, Jacob Brackman
Producer(s)Eddie Kramer
Carly Simon singles chronology
"That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be"

It is an art song with a semiclassical melody in the style of Gabriel Fauré,[2] and Elektra staffers were worried the single was too emotionally complex to be released as Simon's first single. With subject matter that includes "the parents' bad marriage; the friends' unhappy lives; the boyfriend's enthusiasm for marriage but controlling nature; the woman's initial resistance and ultimate capitulation."[3]

Simon was quoted as saying, "When I first wrote it I thought it was an unusual thing for people to break up, and now all my friends are divorced."[4]


The success of the song propelled Simon into the limelight. Apart from being a Top 10 hit, the song also earned Simon a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards in 1972, where she also won Best New Artist.

"That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" has been included on several compilations of Simon's work, including The Best of Carly Simon (1975), Clouds in My Coffee (1995), The Very Best of Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better (1999), Anthology (2002), and Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits (2004), Carly Simon Collector's Edition (2009), and Songs from the Trees (A Musical Memoir Collection) (2015).[5]

In July 1971 the single reached number one in Boston (WRKO), Burlington, Vermont (WDOT), New Haven (WNHC) and Rochester, New York (WSAY).

No music video existed for this song, although a filmed performance was produced for an episode of the early 1970s PBS series The Great American Dream Machine.

Chart performanceEdit


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 221.
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (2008-05-13). "Trailblazers, but Selling a Romantic Kind of Love". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  3. ^ Weller, Sheila (2009). Girls Like Us. p. 344.
  4. ^ Walsh, Ben (2010-03-11). "Vanity case: Will Carly Simon reveal the identity of the mystery man in her Seventies hit You're So Vain?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  5. ^ "Carly Simon Official Website - That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be lyrics". Archived from the original on March 16, 2005. Retrieved 2015-02-07.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  8. ^ [2]

External linksEdit