The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Carly Simon famously collaborated when he provided backing vocals on her mysterious masterclass, ‘You’re So Vain’. This song is the most famous of her career, and Jagger’s inclusion on the track made many people assume that it was actually about Mick, although that seemingly wasn’t the case.
However, that song isn’t the only time that the two of them have worked together. They also recorded another song on the same day that they recorded ‘You’re So Vain’ in 1972, but remarkably it has never seen the light of day. This loss was nothing to do with either Jagger or Simon wanting to prevent the track from being released. The recording was somehow lost, which feels unfathomable in the digital age when everything exists forever.
The two of them shared a strong bond, although their relationship’s details have always remained scarce and speculative. “If Mick could have his way, it would be Romeo and Juliet tragic. We couldn’t have each other,” Simon wrote in her 2015’s memoir Boys in the Trees about their past relationship. Simon however never disclosed quite what went on between the two of them. Although she did reveal in her book the night before she and James Taylor got married, he received a call from Mick’s new wife, Bianca.
“James and I were in bed, getting ready for the big day, when the phone rang and James answered. It was Bianca Jagger,” Simon wrote. “She told James that he shouldn’t marry me because her husband and I were having an affair. She muttered some things I couldn’t believe she was saying. Then James said, ‘I’m sure that’s not true. Carly has told me about it and it’s not what you think. I trust my wife-to-be. I trust Carly.'”
Simon disclosed this information about the song in her book, where she recalled: “We sat down at the piano and I started playing these chords – Mick asked me how I knew them all,” Simon said. “I played the chord sequence from the line [in ‘Vain’] that goes, ‘You gave away the things you loved,’ and he started singing. We had this little back and forth at the piano for about an hour.”
Then a year later, during an interview with Rolling Stone, she sang a line from memory: “Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny/ How love can make you cry.” But she said she didn’t know what had become of the recording, saying “[Producer] Richard Perry has been looking for that tape for years. Someone from Warner Brothers must have it.”
Two years later in 2018, a Rolling Stones collector named Matt Lee publicly stated that he had a copy of the song in his private collection and passed it on to Rolling Stone hoping that they could pass it on to Simon. Lee didn’t acknowledge how this lost record had come into his hands, but, he did say, “I’m not doing it for the money. I’m a collector. My motive for sending it to Rolling Stone was to pass it to Carly.”
The publication reported that the recording Lee found was the same as those lyrics that Simon had mentioned in the interview. The only difference was when the pair appeared to sing “change” instead of “cry”. However, the lost track has never been spoken about since and whether it successfully managed to make its way back to Simon.
The song came as a surprise to most but not Rolling Stones diehards. They were well aware of its existence after a snippet of the track appeared in a briefly heard in a scene in the publicly unreleased documentary about the 1972 tour of America, Cocksucker Blues, which was eventually released online for free.
Listen to that snippet of the track, below.