Oh, Carly, Carly, Carly. Really? You couldn’t just rest on your laurels and allow us to remain blissfully ignorant, huh?
If you’ve otherwise been distracted by more important international news recently, you may have missed a news story that holds some significance for a segment of the boomer population, and probably the Trivia Night manager at your neighborhood bar too. Regardless of one’s desire to even want to even think much about this, Carly Simon is revealing in a forthcoming book that the second verse of her 1972 ballad “You’re So Vain” is about actor Warren Beatty. She also shares with us that the song isn’t just about Warren either. There are two other verses in the song, and we are learning from new interviews she’s given that there might be at least two other Vain Ones out there in addition to poor ‘ol Warren. In fact, there are possibly “several” who might also be included (this, according to another article). Mon dieu! Carly, as transparent as you’ve always been, it turns out we hardly knew ye.
Which is exactly my point. Why do I want to know this?? You’re starting to ruin the song for me now. I’m hoping this won’t turn out to be some long, drawn-out process where every couple of years she’ll coyly divulge another name for us to all say in unison, “Ah-ha, I told you so!”
My money is on Bob Barker. If Vegas begins to take a line on this, I could really score huge with that kind of pick. Be honest: he was never one of your guesses, was he? Didn’t think so.
I naively thought in recent years that Deep Throat was probably the last of the great modern secrets to be held from public knowledge. But now I’m betting the former Mrs. James Taylor must have been feeling pretty smug in keeping this particular secret of hers under wraps. If only she could have continued to have done so.
I have always admired her in not sharing the dirty details of that song. For a work that’s as over-played as so many are now on terrestrial radio stations (I regularly contemplate hari kari the six times each day I have to hear “Hotel California”), I always thought that the one thing Carly had going for herself was that we were all forced to use our collective imaginations for once. Except for rumors over the years of the mystery man being Warren, Mick Jagger, etc., I enjoyed being blissfully ignorant about it. Plus, in the 2000’s it no longer really seemed to matter anymore anyway. Or so I thought.
And really, I don’t know about you, but when I hear an old favorite playing on the radio, most of the time I begin to think about some person or place that I remember from my life. Songs can be evocative, which is why that old adage about never listening to music after a breakup is good advice. But now thanks to Carly, all I’ll ever think about when “You’re So Vain” is played is a vision of Warren Beatty. Or Bob Barker even.
No offense, Carly, but you personally were just never in my thoughts as I listened to your music. When I hear a romantic song it’s impossible for me to fall for a person whom I’ve never met. Others roll differently, I understand. But I have to at least have had some interpersonal contact with someone in order for a sensory stimulation to form.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’ve always admired her. Like most other teenage boys in 1972, her No Secrets album cover was the closest I could get to actually having a Playboy magazine in the house right under my parents’ eyes. Before everyone looking sexy became “hot,” my male friends and I referred to Carly as a “fox.” She was “foxy,” as we all said back then about beautiful members of the opposite sex. And, to her credit as a songwriter, there isn’t really a weak song on the No Secrets album either. My personal opinion is that it’s her best work.
I once had an alcohol-fueled argument with a friend about whether Carly should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (I took the “yes” position and still feel that way while sober). Still, I wish Carly could have taken some of her own advice from that album’s title cut and kept some of her own secrets to herself.
In recent years I’ve only read three celebrity autobiographies: Tony Bennett, Carole King and Mike Rutherford’s. I’m told that Phil Collins is currently working on his memoirs, and being the Genesis freak I am, I assume I will eagerly devour it as soon as it become available. Generally, however, I am loath to read the celebrity-written tale because I can never be sure just how much an artist is exaggerating in order to put him/herself in the most positive light possible. Come to think of it, I feel the exact way about the memoirs written by politicians too.
All the same, I do wish foxy Carly well with her book and any resulting success she has with it. Second and third acts are always admirable.
Until next time…