You’re So Vain

You’re So Vain

Carly Simon’s song You’re So Vain, ever since 1972, when it first appeared in radio airwaves has always intrigued me.

I break down the song into its intriguing components below.

1Who’s the You in “You’re So Vain”? Warren Beatty is the main culprit although there are two more vain ones.

2 – The catchy intro – the song starts with a prominent bass riff, played by Klaus Voorman. Seconds into the bass intro, Carly whispers “Son of a gun”. Voorman is an early buddy of the Beatles from their formative Hamburg days. He also was the designer of the Beatles’ Revolver album cover.

What an awesome intro. I was 14 years old when I hear this through my teenage ears.

3 – Wow, the song featured Mick Jagger, one of the hottest voices on radio, as backup vocal. Jagger, who happened to be in the studio, is uncredited in the album credits

4 – There’s the incisive, confessional lyrics

“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.”

5 – Then there’s the mysterious “clouds in my coffee”. Simon said whilst on an airline, she noticed from the reflection of the airplane window, there seemed to be clouds (outside the plane) in her cup of coffee.

6 – the album cover always gets one’s attraction (above image). No Secrets indeed.

7 – exquisite drumming by Jim Gordon. Jim Gordon to me is the greatest rock and roll drummer. Bar none.

Read my accompanying blog on the highly talented but deeply troubled Jim Gordon. Gordon’s drumming really lifted “You’re So Vain” after the song and album producer Richard Perry was figuring what music mojo the great song was missing. Then Jim Gordon walked into the studio.

8 – I learnt a new word. Gavotte, it turns out, is a French dance.

“You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.”

I initially thought it was something obscene. My bad.

In 2009, 37 years after the first version appeared, Carly revisited the song in her album, “Never Been Gone”, a bare and slowed down version.