Carly Simon - No Secrets

Carly Simon - No Secrets

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Review

The early 70s was a golden age for confessional singer/songwriting in the US. Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue in 1971 were followed a year later by another brazen benchmark. Carly Simon’s No Secrets sports deceptively mellow arrangements, with lyrics that still raise an eyebrow.

Simon’s third album was also her breakthrough; recorded in London, it made her name in the UK thanks to the notorious You’re So Vain. And in this frank interview, Simon performs the song’s missing fourth verse.

“The one about Warren Beatty” may be the album’s most famous, but arguably the most moving is Right Thing to Do, an unabashed love song that is blind to imperfections – her then lover James Taylor, who contributed one song to the album plus backing vocals – was a heroin addict when they first met.

Simon is engagingly candid about writing (“I start with words that are usually emotionally brought on”) and attraction (“As long as a man has the talent, smell and humour, I’m a goner”). And where some artists can be a bit Pseuds Corner about their work, Simon is refreshingly honest about that, too. Talking about the song Embrace Me, You Child, she says, “I’m not sure I ever really understood what it meant because it came from my subconscious…”).

No Secrets had an amazing sessions roster that includes names like Klaus Voorman (bass), who appears here, and Lowell George (slide guitar), and Simon tells the story of how one Mick Jagger backing track inspired her to nail her own vocal on You’re So Vain – until then she’d had to record it “100 times”.

Summary

Carly Simon discusses her life and career, reflecting on her time with ex-husband James Taylor, a heroin addict when they first met. She also recounts her number of highly public affairs in the early 1970s and how her experience fed into the 1972 album's most famous song, You're So Vain, performing the missing fourth verse on the piano - the first time she has ever sung it along with the melody. Plus, footage of Simon and Taylor Swift performing You're So Vain together, and extracts from an interview where Swift talks about her love for the song.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Carly Simon
Contributor Taylor Swift
Director Guy Evans
Executive Producer Phil Dolling
Music