Carly Simon, the folk-rock singer who scored a No. 1 hit with song “You’re So Vain,” has finally revealed an inspiration behind the biting song, more than 40 years after it topped the charts in 1972. And, it’s probably who you think. But he’s not the only one.
Actually, the song was inspired by a composite of three men, she revealed in a new interview.
The one she outed today in an interview with People is actor Warren Beatty. Beatty was the George Clooney of his day and dated a number of high-profile women, including Simon.
“I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” Simon told the magazine. She’s making the rounds promoting her upcoming memoir, “Boys in the Trees.”
The chorus, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you,” became an iconic refrain for jilted love. Simon maintained from the outset the song was about “men,” not a specific “man.”
The inspiration has long been a matter of speculation. In a 2007 interview Beatty was convinced the song was about him.
“Let’s be honest. That song was about me,” he said.
In 1983, Carly said Beatty “certainly thought it was about him — he called me and said thanks for the song.”
But in 2010, Simon suggested someone else was behind the music. The clue was hidden in a newly recorded version of the song. When played backward the name “David” can be heard.
Simon told Uncut magazine the name was a clue to the identity of one of her inspirations. Many took it to mean music mogul David Geffen.
“I’m just going to tell you this,” she told the magazine. “The answer is on the new version of ‘You’re So Vain.’ There’s a little whisper, and it’s the answer to the puzzle.”
At the time she was reportedly feuding with Geffen for signing folk-rock singer Joni Mitchell, one of Simon’s rivals.
Beside Beatty, others named as possible inspirations were Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, Jack Nicholson and James Taylor, whom she married.
At various times in the past she’s said that Taylor was, and was not, an inspiration.
“Why do they want to know?” she told People about her fans. “It’s so crazy!”
The song won a Grammy for Song of the Year. Simon last sang it live on July 2013, in a duet with Taylor Swift on Swift’s “Red Tour.”
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