(Posted February 26) For the past 24 hours or so, the Internet has been (somewhat) abuzz that Carly Simon was finally going to reveal who her 1972 hit single “You’re So Vain” was written about. Britain’s Sun newspaper — hardly the most reliable source on the best of days — claimed on Friday that the song’s about David Geffen, and a gullible Internet dutifully reported that as fact.
Unfortunately, it’s not true.
The “big reveal” — that on a re-recorded version of the song by Simon out next week, on which she whispers “David” — hardly slams the door on the case closed to begin with. But, acting in part on a rumor that bounced around the Net last November, the papers decided the only possible David would be Geffen, today part of the DreamWorks conglomerate and then head of Simon’s label, Elektra.
The problem with this reasoning is that Geffen had nothing to do with Simon’s label at that time, and became Elektra’s head only after it merged with his Asylum label several months after the song came out.
In addition, Geffen’s personal preferences tend towards the, shall we say, non-feminine side.
Ah, but the current “Vain” rumors insist that the song’s not about a personal relationship gone awry — hence the ongoing conjecture that it’s about such players as Warren Beatty (still the best bet) or Mick Jagger — but about her jealousy over “her” label boss Geffen spending more time pushing Joni Mitchell’s career than her own.
That story always sounded ridiculous, in part due to the reasons already cited above. Simon herself has claimed the song’s subject is a composite of three people. Simon’s probably having more fun with this whole thing than anybody, and feeding the flames with “David” on the remake brings new attention to her (lately moribund) career.
But it is interesting that in her 1993 autobiography, Angie Bowie claimed that Jagger was definitely obsessed with Simon.
And Angie’s husband’s name? David Bowie.