January of 1973, You're So Vain was the # 1 hit song on the radio.
Carly had just married fellow pop-superstar James Taylor a month before,
so when You're So Vain hit the airwaves, it stirred intense curiosity
about which one of her previous lovers was the subject of this wry nod
to the male ego. click here to read the lyrics
it Mick Jagger? Cat Stevens? Warren Beatty? Kris Kristofferson? It was
common knowledge that she had been involved with each of them in the
Carly has never revealed who she had in mind when she wrote
You're So Vain, and over 35 years later, interviewers are
still asking her this same question........
Stone - 1973
Some people think "You're So Vain" is about James.
Carly: No, it's definitely not about James, although James suspected
that it might be about him because he's very vain. No, he isn't, but
he had the unfortunate experience of taking a jet up to Nova Scotia
after I’d written the song. He was saved by the fact that it wasn’t
RS: You mentioned the "contest" going on about who it's about.
What would be the clearest statement you would want to make on who the
song was about?
The contest is run by this man in Los Angeles named Winkler, and he
had his listeners call in to cast their ballot as to who they thought
the song was about. Kris Kristofferson is leading.
A lot of people think it's about Mick Jagger and that I have
fooled him into actually singing on it, that I pulled that
ruse. And some of the people think it's about James. But I
can't possibly tell who it's about because it wouldn't be
Washington Post - 1983
Who was ‘You’re So Vain about? Mick Jagger?
It certainly sounds like it was about Warren Beatty. He certainly thought
it was about him - he called me and said thanks for the song….
You had gone with him?
That only means you haven’t met him, though at the time
I met him he was still relatively undiscovered as a Don Juan.
I felt I was one among thousands at that point – it hadn’t
reached, you know, the populations of small countries….
the record, Simon acknowledges the song is a little about Beatty; it's
a composite of three men from her L.A. days. Warren, it seems, was not
a particularly good boyfriend.
"And I never took him seriously," she says. "He was great fun and very,
very, bright. But noooo ... as a boyfriend.
lot of women like somebody who's that smooth. In the beginning
Warren was pretty good at pretending he was only smooth on
the outside and a bowl of jelly on the inside. But he doesn't
do that secondary act very well now." Carly Simon
- One to One - 1990
have been questioning for a long time, who it's about - I mean, who
I wrote the song about.
always strikes me as funny. That people would be THAT into what I was
thinking about, that's the greatest ego trip anybody could have....that
they would be THAT interested in what you were thinking about when you
wrote a song.
And for that very reason, of course, I can never give it away."
Donahue - 1990
audience member asks Carly: Was You're So Vain about Warren Beatty?
And did Mick Jagger sing vocals on that?
I've never, ever told who You're So Vain is about. But I will
tell you since you're so very pretty in that pink sweater....it's
about the young Oprah Winfrey.
Live - 1990
Sawyer: You're So Vain is about...we've heard Mick Jagger and Warren
Who cares, I can't believe people care, you know? It was a
riddle a long time ago and it's best, as all those riddles
are, it's best unsolved.
Interview - 1994
Costas : Carl Bernstein told me once that he had sealed the identity
of Deep Throat in some sort of envelope and I guess he stuck it beneath
a tree someplace deep in the forest with instructions on how to find
it - to be opened 50 years after his death. And only then the identity
of Deep Throat could be revealed.
I have right here. (reaching into her pocket)
Costas : Have you done the same thing with the identity of the person
you're mocking in You're So Vain?
Well, you know people have always asked me this. I don't know why people
are so interested in that. I suppose it was at a time in my life in
which I was garnering a great deal of sort of tabloid press - in terms
of who I was going out with. It's
the kind of thing that if I actually tell, it'll lose the whole mystique.
What's the point of telling? Why bother to tell?
Costas : Is it a person or a composite of people?
It was a dog actually. Yes, it was a person!
Costas : No, I mean a single person. I wasn't suggesting it was
outside of humankind. (laughing). Was it a single person or a composite
of objectionable traits in a variety of people?
Hardly objectionable! I think it's a very attractive man.
I think it's a very complicated man who is obviously concerned
with his image, but obviously worthy of my love or my interest.
I don't LOVE just anyone. You know, he's gotta have a certain
amount of character. If he was only vain it would be boring,
but there's a lot more to him. He hobknobs with the underworld.
Morning - 1995
McEwen: How did you get Mick Jagger to sing on You're So Vain?
I guess it was kind of chance in a way. I was in London, it was 1972
and he happened to call at the studio while I was doing the background
vocals with Harry Nilsson. Mick said "Hey, what cha doin'?"
and I said "We're doing some backup vocals on a song of mine....why
don't you come down and sing with us?"
Mick and Harry and I stood around the mike singing you're so vain
and Harry was such a gentleman - he knew the chemistry was between me
and Mick; in terms of the singing, so he sort of bowed out saying "The
two of you have a real blend - you should do it yourselves."
that's how it happened.
So, who is You're So Vain about?
I don't know.
We've heard it was Warren Beatty. It was Mick Jagger. But you've never
really said who it was.
Rose - May 2000
Tell us about You're So Vain
Well, there was originally a song that had the melody of what is now
You're So Vain, called Bless You Ben. It went "Bless you Ben, you
came in, where nobody else left off.....There I was, by myself, hiding
up in my loft"....
never went anywhere, I could never fall in love with it. And then I
was at a party and somebody walked in and my friend said to me "Doesn't
he look like he's just walked on to a yacht?". So, I thought to
myself - hmmm, let me write that in my notebook.
then one day, when I was playing Bless You Ben on the piano, I substituted
"You walked into the party, like you were walking onto a yacht"
and the exchange was equal. And it felt natural and it felt good and
then I could get into that man, I knew who I was talking about.
Well.....not at all.
Not at all?
Well, maybe a little bit.
Was it one man? Was it Warren or was it a composite for you?
Most songs are a composite....most songs are.
Was this one?
I don't know.
Oxygen - 2000
Warren Beatty or Mick Jagger?
You're kidding me?
I may be kidding you.
You won't tell?
No, I won't tell.....well, it's certainly not, not about Warren.
So Vain was just a series of lines in a notebook for a long
time. There was You're so vain you probably think this
song is about you and You walked into a party like
you were walking onto a yacht. And then one day I figured
out 'Hey, these two could be about the same person.'"
Morning - 2001
Braver: Everyone thinks You're So Vain is about Mick Jagger.
Oh, they don't really think that.
Yes - they do.
Oh, no, no, no.
And then I read it might be about Warren Beatty?
Oh, you know, don't listen to what other people tell you.
Well, do you want to solve that mystery for me?
You know, I could never really solve it because if I did,
then no one would have anything to talk to me about.
Janet Jackson's song Son Of A Gun - 2001
apricot scarf was worn by Nick....there's nothing in the words
that refer to Mick" Carly sings
Dreams Auction - 2003
Carly's participation in this year's charity auction created an intense
media buzz when she offered to reveal the identity of the person(s)
she had in mind when she penned the song "You're So Vain"
to the highest bidder, but only after they agreed to abide by a confidentiality
Shortly after this news was printed in People magazine, the Associated
Press picked up the story and newspapers, television and radio shows
around the world immediately followed.
The news scrollers on all the major cable networks began carrying Carly's
name across the bottom of the television screen. MSNBC.com conducted
a viewer's poll where Beatty's name earned 54% of the vote. Matt Lauer
reviewed the list of usual suspects with Anthony DeCurtis (of Rolling
Stone magazine) on The Today Show. Roger Friedman of Fox
News went on record with his firm opinion that song was about Warren
Beatty. The BBC's Up All Night radio show interviewed Carly fans
live from the US to get their opinion on who the song was written about
and why this mystery has such long lasting appeal.
August 4th, the gavel cracked at $50,000 for Carly's "Dream Secret".
The winner (Dick Ebersol - an NBC executive) and nine of his friends
will join Carly at her home in a few weeks, at which time she will sing
You're So Vain while her guests enjoy peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches and vodka on the rocks. At midnight, Mr. Ebersol alone will
learn Carly's closely guarded secret.
told me that I could offer up to the entire world, a clue
as to what she'll tell me when we have this night in about
two weeks. And the clue is: the letter 'E' is in the person's
name." Dick Ebersol on NBC's Today Show - Aug. 5th, 2003
- People In The News - 2004
Zahn : Long ago, you once admitted that it could potentially be
a composite of a number of men that were dear to you in your life. Whether
that be Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty or maybe even a little bit of James
Taylor in there?
Well, I guess for those who are interested in clues - the name of the
person it was about had an "E" in it.
Oh, well thank you...that's very helpful Carly. That could be
Mick, Warren or James. We still have the same three in the pot.
Maybe I could disclose another letter. OK, it also has an "A".
(Laughter) Ok, we'll be asking you about this for the next thirty years.
Well listen, two vowels ain't bad!
& Kelly - 2004
: Isnt' it time for you to tell the world - who's the guy you're
singing about? Is it Warren Beatty? Is it Mick Jagger? Or is it me?
If I tell it, it's going to come out in dribs and drabs. And
I've given out two letters already, and "A" and
an "E". But I'm going to add one to it. I'm going
to add an "R", in honor of you.
Today - June, 2005
about Mark Felt!" Simon, 59, joked by phone Wednesday from her home
in Martha's Vineyard, referring to the former FBI official who has said
he was Deep Throat. You're So Vain was a No. 1 hit in January 1973,
six months after the Watergate break-in that led to President Nixon's
unlike the Watergate principals, Simon says she'll never reveal the
answer, not even when she or the song's subject dies. "I don't see why
I ever would. What would it advance? I wrote that song in the days when
people kept confidences to themselves, whereas now, people expose them
so easily and readily for the benefit of their next movie sale."
finds it "bizarre" that fans are still speculating about her
lyrics three decades later. "If people knew who it was to
begin with, it might not have become a hit."
Degeneres Show - May, 2008
tries to get Carly to admit who You're So Vain is about.
Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs - July, 2008
So Vain is listed at number 72, on Billboard's definitive
list of the Hot 100's top 100 songs from the chart's first
50 years, August 1958 through July 2008.
of the biggest enigmas in popular music, this track also carries
one of the most famous refrains: "You're so vain/I bet you
think this song is about you." Simon has never publicly admitted
who the song is about. Regardless, it was a huge hit, spending
three weeks at No. 1 in January 1973.
walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
hat strategically dipped below one eye
scarf it was apricot
had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
be your partner, and....
so vain, you probably think this song is about you
so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
you? Don't you?
had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
you said that we made such a pretty pair
that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was
had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my
so vain, you probably think this song is about you.....
I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won
you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total
eclipse of the sun
you're where you should be all of the time
when you're not you're with
underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
of a close friend, and....
so vain, you probably think this song is about you.....
site was composed entirely while listening to Carly Simon's music.