The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, November 07, 2002  

Chrissie Hynde vs. Carly Simon / Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera

This is one of my favorite stories from the world of celebrity-dom, a world I inhabit, of course, but one to which I pay very little attention. The details vary depending upon the raconteur, but I will do my best to convey them in a fair and impartial manner.

On a November night several years ago, either 1995 or 1996, possibly the 6th of the month, but maybe not, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell turned either 50 or 52 years old, an occasion she celebrated with a performance at The Fez, a small New York nightclub.

Numerous luminaries from the music business were in attendance, including the beautiful and talented, Grammy-, Oscar-, and Golden Globe-winning singer-songwriter Carly Simon, and the late-in-arriving trailer-park refugee Chrissie Hynde.

Hynde, who was either drunk or tweaking, or who may just have been acting like the complete asshole she is, was, by all accounts, exceedingly boisterous, repeatedly yelling unneeded encouragement to Mitchell -- “I love you! I love you!” -- during the 80-minute performance.

Simon, justifiably disgusted by Hynde’s psychotic episode, told the decrepit “rocker” either to please be more quiet, or to, well, shut the hell up. To that apparently outrageous provocation and insult, Hynde, testosterone a-flowing, pounced on Simon, grabbing her by the throat, and, according to some observers, wrestling her to the ground and punching Simon twice.

Long afterward, in April of this year, actually, Simon summarized the episode this way:

Well, Chrissie was a bit intoxicated and was yelling out during Joni’s performance, which, needless to say, everybody wanted to hear. Chrissie was sitting right next to me and I asked her to be a little quieter. No one else would have dared say that to her, but me, stupid me, didn’t know it was Chrissie.

She started choking me in a loving way, saying: “You’re great too Carly, get up there, you need to do this too.” Very nice, the only problem being that it was right in the middle of Joni’s song and people were looking at us. So I moved seats. That’s all it was about.

I must say that her choking me in “fun intoxication” looked to a lot of the audience like a fight. It was not. I just couldn't believe that no one was interceding and saying anything to her. I love her music and respect her as an artist. It was just one of those things.

What really happened? I have no idea; I wasn’t there. But since Simon is an all-around class act and Hynde is, well, trash, I’m inclined to think a drunken Hynde -- Is there any other kind? -- pitched a catfight and that Simon, appalled, revolted, and perhaps physically wounded, left The Fez, the club’s management having displayed remarkable tolerance for Hynde’s attempted British hooliganism, and now years later Simon is displaying her characteristic graciousness by downplaying the particulars of the incident.

I’ll bet you’ve never heard that story before.

All of this brings us to a little poll about a completely hypothetical catfight, one in which the participants will be familiar to Rittenhouse Review readers younger than 40: If a similar altercation were to occur, say, tonight, between Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, which performer would have started the fight and which woman would win?

Please send your votes to the Review at the e-mail address provided in the upper-right corner of the home page. Your votes will remain confidential and your e-mail addresses will not be used for any personal or commercial purpose. (Please, like I have time to assemble mailing lists?)

Have fun!

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