Carly Simon lets slip name of man who thought 'You're So Vain' was about him
Carly Simon has broken a 38-year silence to let slip the name of the man who thought the hit song 'You’re So Vain' was about him in 1972.
The identity of the singer’s self-regarding former lover, which coincides with the release of the 64-year-old’s greatest hits album, is disclosed during an instrumental interlude in a new acoustic recording of the hit.
The name “David” is whispered backwards around two-and-a-half minutes into the track. Simon has confirmed that it is a reference to the man who, according to the song, walked into a party like he was walking onto a yacht.
“I’m just going to tell you this,” she said when asked about pop music’s great mystery in an interview with Uncut 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.”
The confession rules out many of the men thought most likely to have flown their jets to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.
Warren Beatty, who briefly went out with Simon in the early 1970s, was considered by many, including himself, to be the subject of the song.
Simon said in 1983 that the actor matched the description. “He certainly thought it was about him He called me and said: ‘thanks for the song’”.
Other prominent suspects have included Mick Jagger, who recorded backing vocals on the original track, and James Taylor, to whom Simon was married between 1972 and 1983, although she always denied that it was about him.
The recent disclosure leaves two candidates in the running. David Cassidy, who rose to fame with the TV show The Partridge Family, was 22 when the song was written, but had already launched a successful solo career. David Bowie, the British rock star, has also been discussed as a possibility.
Simon said in 2003 and 2004 that the subject had the letters A, E and R in his name, which leaves a question mark over both men. Bowie was born Duncan Robert Jones and Cassidy’s middle name is Bruce.
David Crosby, of the folk-rock band Crosby Stills and Nash, lived in Los Angeles at the same time as Simon. She has suggested the song was based on a composite of three men she knew while living in the Californian city.
In a 1989 interview, the singer said: “It always strikes me as funny that people should be that into what I was thinking about. That’s the greatest ego trip anybody could have. And for that reason of course, I can never give it away.”
A spokesman for her record company said: “After 38 years, we will never get a direct answer from Carly.”