You’re so vain, Warren Beatty, you probably think this story’s about you.
And you would be partially correct.
In anticipation of her upcoming memoir, “Boys in the Trees,” singer Carly Simon talked to People about her iconic 1972 song “You’re So Vain” and the fact that part of it is about actor Beatty, a former love of Simon’s.
“I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” Simon said.
The second verse includes the lines:
“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
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee”
The 70-year-old singer has previously said that the song isn’t about Beatty and then said it’s a little about him. She and Beatty dated briefly in the early 1970s, and she told People that “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!”
For more than four decades, fans have wondered about the inspiration for the tune, and she’s even given clues before. Simon said some of the other verses refer to two other men whom she declined to name.
Such mysteries appeal to music lovers, who often want to know the story behind their favorite tunes. Just ask Alanis Morissette.
Her breakup anthem “You Oughta Know” has been the subject of speculation since its release in 1995.
Many fans thought the angry lyrics were about Morissette’s former love, “Full House” star Dave Coulier. The pair dated in 1992, but in 2014, he told Buzzfeed that the song was not about him.
“You know, it’s just funny to be the supposed subject of that song,” Coulier said. “First of all, the guy in that song is a real a-hole, so I don’t want to be that guy. Secondly, I asked Alanis, ‘I’m getting calls by the media, and they want to know who this guy is.’ And she said, ‘Well, you know it could be a bunch of people. But you can say whatever you want.’ ”
Sometimes fans just make assumptions about lyrics. In their book “The Girl in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics,” Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson write that Billy Joel’s hit “Uptown Girl” was actually not about his now-former wife supermodel Christie Brinkley, though she appeared in the music video. It was actually about another model, Elle Macpherson, who he was dating at the time.
In 2011, Hopkinson told CNN, “People are just fascinated to learn about the muses of these artists.”
“When you talk to artists, they like to lead you on,” he said. “They’ll say one thing and then change their minds.”