Playing Possum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Playing Possum
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 21, 1975
StudioSound Labs, Sunset Sound Recorders, Crystal Sound, A&M Studios and Burbank Studios, California
ProducerRichard Perry
Carly Simon chronology
Playing Possum
The Best of Carly Simon
Singles from Playing Possum
  1. "Attitude Dancing"
    Released: 1975
  2. "Waterfall"
    Released: 1975
  3. "More and More"
    Released: 1975

Playing Possum is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Carly Simon, released by Elektra Records, on April 21, 1975.

It was Simon's third consecutive album to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Pop albums chart, peaking at No. 10 in June 1975. The lead single from the album, "Attitude Dancing", which featured Carole King on backing vocals, was also a success, peaking at No. 21 on Billboard Pop singles chart, and No. 18 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. A second single, "Waterfall", which featured prominent backing vocals by Simon's then-husband James Taylor, didn't fare as well, reaching no higher than No. 78 on the Pop singles chart. It fared much better on the Adult Contemporary chart, entering the Top 40 and peaking at No. 21. The album's third and final single "More and More" was co-written by New Orleans pianist Dr. John, who also played piano on the track, along with Ringo Starr on drums, but it peaked no higher than No. 94 on the Pop singles chart.

Reception and packaging[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores

In his review of the album, Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone said it "represents a breakthrough of sorts for Simon", in her continued shift from a "sensitive singer/songwriter role" to a "rock songstress". He wrote that "Attitude Dancing" was "easily the most exciting Carly Simon cut since 'You're So Vain.'" Other standouts from his review were "After the Storm", "Love Out in the Street", "Are You Ticklish", "Look Me in the Eyes", "Waterfall", and "Slave".[2] Cash Box said of the single "More and More" that "Carly belts out a hard blues vocal over barrelhouse piano, with Memphis style horns and a soulful female chorus lending support."[3]

Today, Playing Possum may best be remembered for its controversial cover photograph, which shows the singer wearing only a black negligee, sheer-to-waist pantyhose, and knee-high black boots. The photographer was Norman Seeff.[4] It was nominated for Best Album Package at the 18th Annual Grammy Awards in Feb. 1976.[5] In 1991, it ranked at No. 20 on the Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest album covers.[6]

Simon further included photographs from the session in the booklets accompanying her three-disc boxed set Clouds in My Coffee (1995) and the two-disc Anthology (2002). The latter also includes the singles "Attitude Dancing" and "Waterfall".[7]


Grammy Awards
Year Work Award Recipient Result Ref
1976 Playing Possum Best Album Package Gene ChristensenA Nominated [5]


Other honors and recognitions[edit]

  • 1991 – Playing Possum ranked No. 20 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Album Covers of All-Time list.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[8]

Side one
1."After the Storm"Carly Simon2:47
2."Love Out in the Street"Simon3:40
3."Look Me in the Eyes"Simon3:34
4."More and More"4:02
Side two
1."Attitude Dancing"
  • Simon
  • Brackman
2."Sons of Summer"Billy Mernit3:05
4."Are You Ticklish"Simon2:26
5."Playing Possum"Simon3:57
Total length:34:38




  • Producer – Richard Perry
  • Engineers – Bill Schnee (Tracks 1, 2 & 5–10); Norm Kinney (Track 3); Andrew Berliner (Track 4).
  • Second Engineer – Charles Beasley
  • Assistant Engineers – Larry Emerine and Reed Stanley
  • Remixing – Norm Kinney and Bill Schnee
  • Mastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Art Direction – Glen Christensen
  • Design and Photography – Norman Seeff
  • Management – Arlyne Rothberg, Inc.


AlbumBillboard (United States)[9]

Year Chart Position
1975 Billboard 100 10

Album – International

Year Country Position
1975 Australia[10] 25
Canada[11] 22
Japan[11] 70

SinglesBillboard (United States)[9]

Year Single Chart Position
1975 "Attitude Dancing" Adult Contemporary 18
Hot 100 21
"Waterfall" Adult Contemporary 21
Hot 100 78
"More and More" 94


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Playing Possum". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (June 19, 1975). "Playing Possum review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 14, 2022. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. September 13, 1975. p. 15. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  4. ^ Estes, Lenora Jane (September 12, 2013). "The 'Lost Archive' of Norman Seeff". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "18th Annual Grammy Awards". The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved August 23, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Album Covers". Rate Your Music. November 14, 1991. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "Anthology". Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Playing Possum (booklet). Carly Simon. Elektra. 1975.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. ^ a b "Carly Simon – Chart history". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  10. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ a b "CAN Charts > Carly Simon". RPM. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.

External links[edit]