Carly Simon finally reveals who’s so vain in ‘You’re So Vain’
Carly Simon has confirmed the answer — at least in part — to one of the most puzzling questions in recent history: Who is the song “You’re So Vain” really about?
“I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” the 70-year-old told People magazine. That’d be Warren Beatty, long suspected of being the vain one. The other verses (“You walked into the party ... “ and “I hear you went up to Saratoga ...”) are about other men, she said.
Simon dated Beatty, though she told the Washington Post in 1983, “Hasn’t everybody?” then added, “[A]t the time I met him he was still relatively undiscovered as a Don Juan. I felt I was one among thousands at that point — it hadn’t reached, you know, the populations of small countries.”
(We’re assuming Annette Bening is pretty much inured to that type of comment by this time. But we digress.)
Here’s the bulk of the second verse: “You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive / Well you said that we made such a pretty pair / And that you would never leave / But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me.” Clouds in my coffee, blah blah blah.
“It certainly sounds like it was about Warren Beatty,” Simon told the Post in 1983. “He certainly thought it was about him — he called me and said thanks for the song ...”
But that wasn’t a confirmation. Now we have one.
She might share the other names down the road, she told People, if she ever told the guys first that they were, well, The Guys. But never say never.
“Probably, if we were sitting over at dinner and I said: ‘Remember that time you walked into the party and ... ‘“ she told the magazine. “I don’t know if I’ll do it. I never thought I would admit that it was more than one person!”
And for the youngsters who’ve made it this far and are scratching their heads as to why this is any kind of a big deal, yes, people did care about the 1973 tune even before Simon performed it with Taylor Swift in 2013. Honest. Only there were record players involved. And in-person conversations. It’s complicated.
“When I heard ‘You’re So Vain,’ I just thought, that is the best song that has ever been written. That is the most direct way anyone has ever addressed a breakup,” Swift said in a 2013 interview. And she knows from breakup songs. “It’s amazing.”
For the record
6 p.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to a 1983 interview with Taylor Swift. That interview was done in 2013. Which makes a lot more sense, as Swift wasn’t born until 1989.
Now, for any Carly Simon fans unfamiliar with Taylor Swift, you can see her performing with Ms. Simon in the video above.
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