Professor Ricky Stratocaster's History of Rock

Carly Simon

 

Carly Simon

One of the most enduring mysteries in the history of music surrounds Carly Simon's You're So Vain. Since its release in 1972, Simon has been teasing us over the identity of the subject of the song, despite the fact that absolutely no one cares. After many years spent dropping increasingly unsubtle hints to an indifferent media, Simon finally revealed that the song was about Warren Mitchell, the celebrated British comedy actor who gained much acclaim for playing Alf Ramsey in the much loved sitcom Death on the Nile.

But this was not to be the end of the story. Realising that she could still milk it for publicity, Simon qualified her statement, claiming that only one verse concerned Mitchell, the rest being about an ever growing congregation of people who had managed to get on the wrong side of her. In recent years she has continued to scatter clues in the manner of a hysterical drunk hurling breadcrumbs at ducks, revealing that the song contains references to, amongst others, Mick Jagger, David Geffen, Telly Savalas, Sir John Gielgud, Keith Harris (and possibly Orville), Pat Sharp, some bloke who came round to clean out her gutters, an anonymous gentleman who once accidentally brushed against her in a hotel foyer and Hercule Poirot - who, despite being entirely fictional, still managed to piss her off for some as yet unexplained reason.

In fact, the only part of the song about which any mystery remains is the third word of the second line of the final verse. For those of you who don't yet know the piece by heart, that word is 'horse'. Simon has said that she will finally reveal the identity of the inspiration for this word next month, and while most of the planet has remained steadfastly blasé regarding the forthcoming disclosure there was, reportedly, much consternation down in the paddock at this year's Kentucky Derby.

 

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