Carly Simon, No Secrets, Elektra ELK 42 127, 1972
Carly Simon wanted no secrets, right down to not wearing a bra on the cover of her best known album. It’s maybe wouldn’t be a big deal now, but this was a pretty revolutionary cover in an era when Peggy Lee was still releasing albums and Karen Carpenter was singing in the Nixon White House.
True, Helen Reddy’s anthem I Am Woman hit number one as this record came out, but this album became more of a mantra for the woman’s equality movement than Helen’s single. It was that much cooler, led by the international hit You’re So Vain, but certainly helped by the informal cover. People still debate who the subject of the song is, but there’s no issue about the attitude the female narrator of it was strongly calling the mystery man out. People said it was about Mick Jagger, but there he is singing background on it, so I don’t think so. Carly has also ruled out her then brand new husband James Taylor, but he never seemed to be the Ascot type anyway.
Beyond the hit, and the semi-hit follow-up The Right Thing To Do, the rest of the music Richard Perry produced fits the same narrative. It’s not as deep as Carole King’s Tapestry, but the theme of women taking charge of their lives for the first time in ways not seen as possible before. It’s not quite what I would call an essential album, but it’s no secret that I have it.
Cost: $2, $701 Remaining