Virtual Conversation: Jimmy Ryan

By Lambs Club 11/30/21

November 30, 2021 – New York

Jimmy Ryan is an American artist, composer, producer, and author with a career that has spanned six decades. Beginning at seventeen, he and his college band, The Critters, had their first top forty hit, “Younger Girl,” and in the next few years landed three charting albums and two more top forty hits, “Mr. Dieingly Sad” and “Don’t Let the Rain Fall Down on Me.”

In 1970, Jimmy’s friend Carly Simon called him to put a band together for her.  She was breaking fast on the US and British Top-40 with “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” as well as her first album “Carly Simon,” on which Jimmy played guitar.  Jimmy went on to perform with Carly on most of her future albums and continues to work off and on with her to this day.  Jimmy is featured in the 2018 BBC Special “Classic Albums – Carly Simon: No Secrets.”  He was the guitar soloist on many of Carly’s hits, the most memorable being “You’re So Vain,” and the Academy Award winning song of the year from the movie, Working Girl “Let the River Run.”  Jimmy also appeared in the video of the song.  He performed in two HBO specials with Carly, Live from Martha’s Vineyard, and My Romance, as well as playing on the studio recording of the My Romance CD with the legendary conductor and arranger, Marty Paich (father of David Paich of Toto fame).  Also of note is that along with the above, Jimmy found time to perform in the original Broadway production of Hair.  He shared the spotlight with two other guitarists from 1968 to 1972.

He’s recorded with numerous artists including Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, John Entwistle of the Who, Elton John & Kiki Dee, Tommy James, Jimmy Webb, The Doors, Andy Williams, Martha Reeves, and Rod Stewart. Jimmy played guitar on Andy Williams’ #1 Neil Sedaka penned hit, “Solitaire.” As a studio musician Jimmy has recorded alongside legendary session players, including Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, Claus Voorman, Nicky Hopkins, Bobby Keys, Richard Tee, Will Lee, Steve Gadd, Lowell George, Robbie Robertson, Paul Shaffer, Rick Marotta, Tony Levin, Roger Hawkins, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn.  On Carly Simon sessions, he has recorded/collaborated with major artists including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Luther Vandross, James Taylor and many more, earning him six gold and one platinum record/CD.

Shifting from composer to author, in 2020 Jimmy created a memoir, Behind – Autobiography of a Musical Shapeshifter, an in-depth look at life with superstars from a very personal perspective.  Behind is intimate, frank and does not hold back on the personal issues that confronted him and those with whom he had the honor to perform on stage and in the studio.  He includes previously unpublished pictures from his private collection and tells intriguing stories that have never been in print. Behind was released on September 15, 2021, and is available worldwide at all major booksellers.

Our interviewer is James Gavin, a free-lance journalist and author of four books and dozens of NY Times Articles. He is a world-wide public speaker, a Grammy nominee and recipient of two ASCAP Deems Taylor – Virgil Thompson Awards for excellence in music journalism.