Happy 45th: Carly Simon, PLAYING POSSUM

Monday, April 27, 2020
Carly Simon PLAYING POSSUM Cover

45 years ago this week, Carly Simon released her fifth studio album, an LP which provided her with her third consecutive top-10 album.

Produced by Richard Perry and recorded variously at A&M Studios, Burbank Studios, Crystal Sound, Sound Labs, and Sunset Sound Recorders (they’re all in California, if you hadn’t guessed), PLAYING POSSUM is best known musically for delivering the classic Simon single “Attitude Dancing,” but there are likely many who know the album predominantly for its cover art, which features Simon wearing nothing more than a black negligee, sheer pantyhose, and knee-high boots.

(In fairness, it is quite the cover, one which was named #20 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Album Covers in 1991, and if you’d like to thank the man responsible for the photo, he’s still around: his name is Norman Seeff, he turned 81 last month, and he’s got a website.)

In addition to the aforementioned “Attitude Dancing,” which hit #21 on the Billboard Hot 100, PLAYING POSSUM had two more minor hits on the pop charts, “Waterfall” (#78) and “More and More” (#94), although it’s worth noting that “Waterfall,” which featured backing vocals from Simon’s then-husband James Taylor, did far better on the Adult Contemporary chart, climbing to #21. Taylor wasn’t the only all-star musician in the mix, either: others appearing on the album include Dr. John, Lee Ritenour, Jeff Baxter, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Klaus Voorman, Andrew Gold, Rita Coolidge, and – wait for it – Ringo Starr.

As mentioned, PLAYING POSSUM was a top-10 album, but only just: it hit #10 on the Billboard 200 in June 1975. But, hey, it was still in the top 10, and that’s what counts!


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