♫ You’re So Vain ♫

An old friend sent me a text message yesterday:

Got a song that you may want to delve in. “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. A good investigating song. Try and figure out who the three men are that it’s about.

Well, me being me … half deaf and never paying much attention to music trivia until recently … I had no idea that the song was actually ‘about’ anybody, but his challenge piqued my curiosity.

The song, written by Carly Simon herself in 1971, was released the following year, and apparently each of the three verses is about a different ‘vain’ man.  In 2015, she admitted that one of the men was Warren Beatty, but other than that she has only given clues, such as that one of the men’s name contains ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘R’.  She has also said it is not about Mick Jagger, who contributed uncredited backing vocals to the song, or her ex-husband James Taylor.  Wait … what???  I never knew that James Taylor was married to Carly Simon!  And here I thought James Taylor was saving himself for me!  Where have I been all my life?

In 2015, Simon published her memoir titled “Boys in the Trees”, but she gave away no answers to the puzzle there, either, and the book is largely about her often tumultuous relationship with Taylor.

In short, I don’t know the answer.  Howard Stern does, for she reportedly told him, but swore him to secrecy.  But here are some of the possibilities:

  • Sean Connery
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Terrence Malick  (who???)
  • Bob Rafelson (again, who???)
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Cat Stevens

It is said that during each of the verses, you can hear a whisper of the name that verse is about.  Now, since I do well to even hear the words that are sung, I’ll leave it up to you guys to listen for the whisper.  And thank you, J.R., for issuing the challenge … it was fun!

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Songwriters: Carly E. Simon
You’re So Vain lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

35 thoughts on “♫ You’re So Vain ♫

  1. Jill, this is one of the classic put down songs. The chorus is priceless. The only one that rivals it is Bob Dylan’s song who laments “You’ve got a lot of nerve.” I did not know Mick Jaggar sang chorus.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. We always wondered about who it was, and Warren Beatty had been mentioned way back when, and then I guess we forgot because it was donkeys’ years ago. I do like the sinister Marilyn Manson version featuring Depp on guitar–

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a good song, personally I always felt whoever ‘he’ was needed a good kick in the pants and all the mirrors removed from his house (super-jerk!).
    I did have her album ‘Anticipation’, excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It was the total eclipse of 1970 that was visible from the Us and Canada, and we know that Carly Simon outed Warren in 2010 so the third stanza is him. Now to the other two, making the leap she is not talkin about him in all three.

    Liked by 1 person

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