Taylor Swift Says This ‘Incredibly Genuine’ 1970s Hit Inspired Her Songs
During an interview, Taylor Swift gave fans insight into the songs that impacted her life. One of them was an iconic 1970s hit which inspired her lyrics. Here’s what Swift said about the song — and how it impacted the music of another pop star.
Taylor Swift learned a secret about one of the most famous songs of the 1970s
In Rolling Stone, Swift listed a handful of songs which “made” her. All of the songs on the list were from the late 1990s onward, with one exception: Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” Swift explained why she loved the track so much.
“It was the shot heard ’round the world that left everyone debating and wondering, ‘Which famous ex-lover did she write it about?’” Swift said. “I’ve felt the ripples of that blaring public curiosity affect my own lyrics. I was a poetry-obsessed preteen the first time I heard that incredibly genius kiss-off, ‘You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.’ After hearing that, it was like a key had just unlocked this forbidden area of storytelling for me. You can say exactly what you feel, even if it’s bitter and brazen!”
Swift then discussed her own personal connection to Simon. “Almost 10 years later, I sat in my dressing room in Boston,” she said. “Carly Simon had just performed ‘You’re So Vain’ with me in front of 65,000 fans. She leaned over and whispered to me who the song was written about — me, the one person who hadn’t asked her.” According to Billboard, Simon eventually revealed to the world that the song is about movie star Warren Beatty.
How ‘You’re So Vain’ performed compared to other Carly Simon songs
Swift is a big fan of “You’re So Vain” — and the public seemed to enjoy it as well. The track reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Simon’s only single to do so. The song remained on the chart for 17 weeks. The song’s parent album, No Secrets, was a hit as well, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and remaining on the chart for 71 weeks.
Taylor Swift wasn’t the only pop star impacted by ‘You’re So Vain’
“You’re So Vain” even served as the blueprint for a subsequent hit by Janet Jackson. Jackson teamed up with Simon and Missy Elliot for the song “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You),” which is built around a sample of ‘You’re So Vain.” Jackson’s song reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 12 weeks. The parent album of “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You),” All for You, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 52 weeks. “You’re So Vain” had an impact on the pop charts — as well as on Jackson and Swift.