Only part of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’ is about Warren Beatty

19 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘It changed my view of sex for a long time’: Carly Simon reveals she had sexual encounters aged seven with a teenage boy.

Simon, who had a string of well-known lovers, said that the actor was the subject of the memorable second verse turned chorus, “You’re so vain / You probably think this song is about you.” Simon had long been coy about the subject of You’re So Vain which was a number one hit in the United States and a number of other countries after its release in late 1972. I told them the first year that it was happening, and they thought I was just trying to be one of the bigger girls,’ she said. ‘Your libido overpowers everything! Beatty, known for films including Reds, Heaven Can Wait and Bugsy, was linked for years to high-profile women but has been married since 1992 to actress Annette Bening. Beatty is eight years older than she is. “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 / I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee,” the song continues.

Simon for years, also having a reputation himself, and being a contributor to the song (he sings backup and his voice becomes quite distinctively present near the end). Throughout the years, Simon has revealed clues in dribs and drabs, revealing at different times the name or names contained the letters A and E, but has always maintained it was about more than one person. Nestled in a plush leather sofa in the lobby of Robert De Niro’s downtown Greenwich Hotel, Simon munches on a late breakfast, her voice a seductive purr as she talks about her book.

Why keep the identities of the other two men in her hit song – which she performed on stage in 2013 with Taylor Swift, an unabashed fan – a secret? “I haven’t told either of them that it’s about them, so it would be too much of a shock, too much of a cold, calculated thing to put it in the book without them knowing,” says Simon, who kept a diary for years. Her anecdote-filled memoir, which she wrote without a ghostwriter and which closes in the early 1980s when her marriage to singer-songwriter James Taylor ends, is dishy without being salacious.

It was subsequently reported that the song was actually not about a lover at all, but rather openly gay record producer David Geffen, because he was supposedly giving preferential treatment to her label-mate Joni Mitchell. For starters, she writes about her difficult relationship with her father (Richard Simon, of the publishing company Simon & Schuster), her mother’s affair with a much younger man, and her disturbing sexual encounters starting at age 7 or 8 with a teenage boy named Billy. “I didn’t realize that I was being used,” she says. “I thought of myself as being in love with him. The third verse seems to refer to someone both incredibly wealthy and with old-money interests (he has a Learjet and breeds horses that run at Saratoga racetrack) — a type that doesn’t really fit the public image of either Mr. In her book, Carly opens up about her tumultuous decade-long marriage to Taylor, how they ended up continuously cheating on each other, and the ‘electricity’ she felt when she first encountered Mick Jagger.

I’m sure a lot of girls go through the same thing.” Singing helped her deal with a stammer (she had stage fright), and in the ’70s the hits (Anticipation, That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be) started coming. She describes how she first saw Taylor as a drawing on the cover of Time Magazine, telling her sister Joey ‘I’m going to marry that man’ – before doing exactly that. After meeting for the first time backstage at one of his concerts in New York in 1971, Simon revealed the first thing she said was to offer him a home ‘cooked lunch sometime’, to which he replied ‘what about tonight?’ ‘He spoke like a southern gentleman asking is he might remove his rain boots in the mud room,’ she recalled. ‘After that first night we spent hardly a night apart for many years.’ But before they married, Carly had ‘a flirtation’ with Mick Jagger, who was in the studio when she was recording You’re So Vain and can be heard doing uncredited backing vocals. ‘The farther away we stood, the closer we got. Stevens was the inspiration for what later became known as “the ketchup song,” Anticipation. “I’ve never met anybody who was as naturally comfortable in his skin as he was,” she says. If Taylor, 67, reads (she thinks “he will stay as far away as he can”), she hopes he will realize “how much I love him, how much I will always love him; it’s not a matter of choice.” At the same time, she says with apparent bitterness, as if she hasn’t got time for the pain: “Anybody who’s that absolutely final in his determination not to see me — something’s going on because obviously it can’t make him look good.

Maybe it does, maybe I’m wrong, maybe people think, ‘Oh, that’s cool, he doesn’t talk to his ex-wife he has two kids with, hasn’t for 40 years.’” She’s releasing a compilation CD, Songs from the Trees, to accompany her memoir, featuring two new songs, one of which, I Can’t Thank You Enough, she co-wrote with her son. Simon – who still lives in the house they shared in Martha’s Vineyard – says she still loves him, but Taylor hasn’t spoke to her in years. ‘My incredible loyalty to him, in spite of the fact that he has treated me without any regard, has been so painful to me for so long,’ she continued. ‘But, through the course of writing the book, I really started to understand that I could love and not be loved.

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