Second Biggest Mystery Of The 70s Solved

by Jonathan Chait | February 26, 2010

Now that we've learned the identity of Deep Throat, the one remaining thing we needed to know before we can close the books on the 1970s is, who was Carly Simon singing about in that annoying but catchy tune "You're So Vain"? Numerous romantic figures have been named, including Mick Jagger and Warren Beatty. And now... we know:

the target has been revealed as gay producer DAVID GEFFEN, at the time head of Carly's Elektra record label.
And rather than being angry about a failed relationship, Carly is thought to have resented the effort he put into promoting rival JONI MITCHELL.

No wonder everybody got it wrong. We were searching in the wrong sexual orientation.

Of course, the real problem here is that the song lyric ("You're so vain/You probably think this song is about you") is incoherent. Of course he thinks the song is about him -- it is about him. How could that be held up as evidence of vanity?

Update: The more I think about it, the less sense Simon's explanation for the song's subject makes. Take this verse:

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

Okay -- everybody thought "had me" meant had me as a lover, but now she means as a client. That works. But what about this:

Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend

What's wrong with a gay man spending time with the wife of a close friend?

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/second-biggest-mystery-the-70s-solved