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Official Charts Pop Gem #70: Carly Simon – You're So Vain

23/08/2014

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Carly Simon – You're So Vain

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Carly Simon’s ultimate act of revenge – a Number 3 hit in 1972 – is crowned our ultimate song of the 1970s.

Every week we ask you to nominate your Pop Gem picks – overlooked songs that never got the recognition they deserved, or tunes that were huge back in the day, but could still do with some 2014 attention.

As we reached our 70th Pop Gem, we realised we had never picked a song from the ‘70s for the Pop Gem honour. Well, if Pop Gem is about anything it’s righting pop wrongs, so we decided to rectify that immediately, with a Seventies-themed Pop Gem hunt.

After some fantastic suggestions, taking in disco, rock and ballads, we went for this final 14. A tough decision – what would you pick?

ARTIST TRACK PEAK POSITION YEAR
EARTH WIND & FIRE WITH THE EMOTIONS BOOGIE WONDERLAND 4 1979
ANITA WARD RING MY BELL 1 1979
YVONNE ELLIMAN IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU 4 1978
CHIC EVERYBODY DANCE 9 1978
DONNA SUMMER MACARTHUR PARK 5 1978
BACCARA YES SIR I CAN BOOGIE 1 1977
DAVID BOWIE SOUND & VISION 3 1977
FLEETWOOD MAC DREAMS 24 1977
ELTON JOHN SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD 11 1976
CARL DOUGLAS KUNG FU FIGHTING 1 1974
CHER DARK LADY 36 1974
STEVIE WONDER SUPERSTITION 11 1973
T REX SOLID GOLD EASY ACTION 2 1972
CARLY SIMON YOU'RE SO VAIN 3 1972

It was a real head-scratcher this week, but after some careful thought, we went for the oldest tune on the list – Carly Simon’s excellent 1972 hit You’re So Vain.

Watch Carly perform the song in 1987 before we tell you why it had to be You’re So Vain.

Why it had to be Carly

American singer-songwriter Carly Simon is one of the biggest talents in pop, well respected by fans and other artists, but perhaps doesn’t get as much attention as she deserves. A multiple award-winning composer, Carly was the first person to win an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy for writing and performing a song all by herself – for the epic Let The River Run, from Melanie Griffith movie Working Girl. She’s a living legend, basically.

And if you don’t believe us, just ask Taylor Swift – she performed You’re So Vain onstage with Carly Simon last year.

The song

An international Number 1, You’re So Vain was Carly’s very first UK hit, peaking at Number 3 in 1972. The song is a smart, acidic assessment of a former lover, who’d much rather be looking in a mirror or snogging people he shouldn’t be than paying any attention to Carly. The identity of the song’s subject is still a mystery – though big stars like actor Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger have been named as possible suspects.

If it is the Rolling Stones' frontman, Carly has pulled off a masterstroke – Sir Mick sings backing vocals on You’re So Vain (you can hear him really strongly in the chorus toward the end).

You’re So Vain has been covered by many artists, including Liza Minnelli and Marilyn Manson, and had a second lease of life when Janet Jackson sampled it on her 2001 hit Son Of A Gun (Betcha Think This Song), which was produced by none other than Pharrell Williams!

Carly’s chart story

Most popstars would kill for just one iconic song in their back catalogue, but Carly has at least two. Carly is a member of a pretty exclusive club – she’s sung a Bond theme. Nobody Does It Better – from Roger Moore’s The Spy Who Loved Me – was Carly’s second Top 10 hit in 1977, peaking at Number 7.

Including the Janet Jackson collaboration, Carly’s had seven Top 40 hits, with four going Top 10, including 1982’s Why and 1987’s Coming Around Again, both peaking at Number 10.

Over on the Official Albums Chart, Carly’s scored five Top 40 albums, with her debut release No Secrets charting the highest, at Number 3.

Pop Gem Hall Of Fame

Today's Pop Gem is the latest in a long line of amazing pop songs that have been inducted into our Pop Gem Hall Of Fame. Take a look at all the tracks who've received the honour so far

Your Pop Gem needs you

Got a Pop Gem of your own? Want to suggest a theme for another week? Find out how you can get involved in the Pop Gem party.

Video playlist

Want to take a trip down Memory Lane and relive the ‘70s? Get your best flares on and join us for our Pop Gem video playlist.

Every Pop Gem ever

Fancy reliving those perfect Pop Gems we already picked all over again? No worries, get your ears wrapped round these playlists on Deezer and Spotify. SLAY.

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