It’s one of the most devastating portraits of conceit ever recorded. Various clues to the identities of the song’s subjects have come out over time, and Mick Jagger (who sings the chorus back ups), Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, David Geffen, and former husband James Taylor have all been potential influences.
Even David Bowie’s name was floated, with his ex-wife Angie Bowie claiming in her 1993 autobiography Backstage Passes that she was the “wife of a close friend” mentioned in You’re So Vain, and that Jagger, for a time, had been “obsessed” with her.
One down, two to go.
“I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” Carly Simon told People in an interview previewing her 2015 memoir Boys In The Trees. She happens to be turning 75 today to boot, sharing her birthday with the late George Michael, the day before yours truly.
Does Beatty know about the seminal role he plays in the song? In keeping with its theme, “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!” said Simon, adding that the other verses refer to two other men – and she still wasn’t naming names.
Musically, You’re So Vain is one of the best examples of a confessional style of singer-songwriter singles. A huge hit in late 1972, despite its enduring legacy it’s also Carly Simon’s only No. 1 single on the “pop” charts.
Been up to Saratoga lately?