Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to be a singer or band’s muse? Some of the most recognizable songs ever are written about some of the most famous people ever — after the jump, the inside story behind eight great tunes, from “Sweet Caroline” to “Cry Me A River.” Some of them are not so nice…
1. “You walked into the party/Like you were walking onto a yacht/Your hat strategically dipped below one eye/Your scarf it was apricot/You had one eye in the mirror/As you watched yourself gavotte/And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner/They’d be your partner.” — “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon
This song has caused a lot of speculation over the years. Several people know the answer as to who this is about, including Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports and a friend of Simon. Ebersol won the info at a charity auction — in addition to a private performance of “You’re So Vain,” Simon supposedly told him who the song was about. The song has been rumored to be about Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, or James Taylor. Most money is on Beaty.
2. “I tried to give you consolation/When your old man had let you down/Like a fool, I fell in love with you/Turned my whole world upside down.” — “Layla,” Eric Clapton
Layla was inspired by Clapton’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd. Layla was inspired by a Persian poem told to Clapton called “Layla and Majnun” about a moon-princess who was married off by her father to someone other than the man who was desperately in love with her, resulting in his madness. This hit close to home for Clapton, who fell for Boyd during her marriage to The Beatles’ George Harrison.
3. “It’s late in the evening/She’s wondering what clothes to wear/She puts on her make up/And brushes her long blonde hair/And then she asks me/Do I look alright/And I say yes/You look wonderful tonight.” — “Wonderful Tonight,” Eric Clapton
This ballad was written when Clapton and Boyd were finally together. It’s not actually that romantic, as it was inspired by him growing impatient while she was trying to dress for a party.
4. “You don’t have to say, what you did, I already know, I found out from him/Now there’s just no chance, for you and me, there’ll never be/And don’t it make you sad about it.” — “Cry Me a River,” Justin Timberlake
While we may never know the real story of the Justin Timberlake/Britney Spears breakup, it is alleged that Britney cheated on Justin with choreographer Wade Robson. And the girl in the “Cry Me a River” video looks an awful lot like Brit-Brit.
5. “Always love me more, miles away/I hear it in your voice, miles away/You’re not afraid to tell me, miles away/I guess we’re at our best, miles away.” — “Miles Away,” Madonna
Madonna said in an interview with Elle that “Miles Away” was inspired by now-estranged husband Guy Ritchie. Although at other times she said she doesn’t like to write about her personal stuff, it seems to be inspired by difficulties with long distance relationships and intimacy. Sound familiar?
6. “Did you forget about me Mr. Duplicity/I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner/It was a slap in the face/How quickly I was replaced/Are you thinking of me when you f**k her?” — “You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette
Practically everybody knows this awesomely pissed off song off of Morissette’s Grammy-winning album “Jagged Little Pill.” Although Morissette tried to remain elusive as to who the song was about, but it has supposedly been confirmed that it is indeed about ex-boyfriend Dave Coulier: known to most of us as Joey Gladstone from “Full House.”
7. “Where it began, I can’t begin to know when/But then I know it’s growing strong/Oh, wasn’t the spring, whooo/And spring became the summer/Who’d believe you’d come along/Hands, touching hands, reaching out/Touching me, touching you/Oh, sweet Caroline.” — “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond
This pop song that everyone always knows the words to, was released in 1969 and inspired by the 11-year-old Caroline Kennedy. Diamond performed the song for her at her 50th birthday part in 2007.
8. “Goodbye Norma Jean/Though I never knew you at all/Goodbye Norma Jean/From the young man in the twenty-second row/Who sees you as something more than sexual/More than just Marilyn Monroe.” — “Goodbye Norma Jean,” Elton John
Although most people know the remake of this song, “Candle in the Wind 1997” as being about Princess Diana, it was originally written in1973 in honor of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe’s real name was Norma Jean.