Will you ever reveal who You’re So Vain is about?
“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”. –Carly Simon
Highly sexed, an heiress, clever, determined and possessed of the endless legs and voluminous pout that could turn the head of even the biggest star, Carly Simon worked her way relentlessly through many of the most famous names of the Seventies.
In January of 1973, You’re So Vain was the # 1 hit song on the radio. Simon 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.
A radio station in Los Angeles had their listeners call in to cast their ballot as to who they thought the song was about. Was it Mick Jagger? Cat Stevens? Warren Beatty? Kris Kristofferson? It was common knowledge that she had been involved with each of them in the past. To this day, she is still asked the question “Who is You’re So Vain about?”, but she has never publicly revealed the answer.
4th verse revealed
While the subject of Carly Simon’s scathing “You’re So Vain” remains one of music’s greatest mysteries, the singer has revealed her never-before-heard fourth verse to 1972 single that could shine more light on the unknown target.
During an interview, Simon premiered the “lost” verse, which the singer had written while composing the song but ultimately omitted from the final version. “This is a verse that I haven’t ever sung,” Simon said. “I wrote it a while ago on a pad, but it never made it into the song.”
“A friend of yours revealed to me that you’d loved me all the time / Kept it secret from your wives / You believed it was no crime,” Simon sang, pausing at moments to recall the forgotten verse.
“You called me once to ask me things / I couldn’t quite divine / Maybe that’s why I have tried to dismiss you, tried to dismiss you / And you’re so vain.”
Over the past 45 years, Simon has been steadfast in her refusal to disclose who “You’re So Vain” is about, but it’s likely a composite of different men the singer-songwriter encountered.
And yeah, here’s the revelation!
In 2015, Simon revealed that the second verse of the song—the one that starts with the line “You had me several years ago, when I was still quite naive”— is about Warren Beatty, but added that the other two verses are about two other men and that she’s likely to take their names to the grave.
“I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” Simon admitted. That’d be Warren Beatty, long suspected of being the vain one. The other verses (“You walked into the party … ” and “I hear you went up to Saratoga …”) are about other men, she said.
Simon dated Beatty, though she told the Washington Post in 1983, “Hasn’t everybody?” then added, “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.”
Amazing! We’ve unraveled another message behind a classic song. We hope to be with you with more song deciphering to come!