You’re So Vain
Writer(s): Carly Simon (see lyrics here)
Released: November 8, 1972
First Charted: December 1, 1972
Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 11 HR, 12 AC, 1 CL, 3 UK, 11 CN, 17 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 56.97 video, 312.42 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
“It’s hard to imagine anyone better-suited to the early-’70s singer-songwriter moment than Carly Simon.” SG She grew up as a wealthy New Yorker, thanks to her father co-founding the publishing house Simon & Schuster. “She was beautiful in a vivid and singular way.” SG She started recording folk music with her sister Lucy in the 1960s and went solo in 1970. She won the Grammy for Best New Artist and then, after dating a few famous guys, married fellow singer/songwriter James Taylor. “And she was a songwriter capable of writing something like ‘You’re So Vain.’” SG
The song featured “the lush instrumentation of a lot of the era’s singer-songwriter stuff, but it also has that terse, mean bassline. There’s a percussive force to the song’s pianos, its strings, and its squawking guitar solo. And then there’s Mick Jagger’s voice, which becomes obvious the second you hear it.” SG The song was “a meta-commentary on itself” SG with the clever line, “You’re so vain / I bet you think this song is about you.”
Most importantly, her “elegant skewing” SG launched a “decades-long guessing game” AS as people speculated who Carly Simon was referring to in her “cryptic retrospect of a self-absorbed past lover.” AS Was it about Taylor? Was it Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson, or Cat Stevens – all previous flings? Was it David Bowie, session guitarist Dan Armstrong, or someone else entirely?
At a 2003 charity auction, Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports, paid $50,000 to learn the subject(s) identity – but he had to stay mum. SG In 2015, she told People magazine that “the second verse is Warren.” “Their fleeting New York City romance is summed up in the following lines: ‘You had me several years ago when I was still quite naïve / 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.’” AS She also revealed “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!” AS but “I had about three or four different people in mind when I wrote that song.” FB
First posted 11/26/2022.