It’s ironic that Carly Simon’s largest hit “You’re So Vain” was on an album titled No Secrets. After all, the inspiration for the tune has been one of many largest secrets and techniques in in style music historical past — and even at present, the thriller has solely been partially revealed.
The staggering success of the tune has deepened the guessing recreation. After receiving the Best New Artist of the Year Grammy in 1971, Simon launched “You’re So Vain” in November 1972 — the observe shortly skyrocketed up the Billboard chart, the place it stayed for 17 weeks, peaking at No. 1 on January 6, 1973.
The lyrics of the meta tune pointedly accused somebody — seemingly a lover — of being approach too into himself. And with Simon’s well-known lineup of romantic companions, the cocky particular person might have pointed to Warren Beatty, Michael Crichton, David Geffen, Kris Kristofferson, Terrence Malick, Jack Nicholson, Cat Stevens, James Taylor or John Travolta — and even rumored flings with Sean Connery (she later denied any romantic interactions), Marvin Gaye and Jeremy Irons. And in fact, there was the opportunity of Mick Jagger, with whom she shared “raw electricity” whereas singing collectively.
Beatty rose to the highest of the record after a 1983 interview with the Washington Post when Simon stated, “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.”
But the sneaky singer didn’t affirm on the time if his appreciation was warranted.
Over the years, Simon’s revealed a couple of of the letters within the topic’s identify
For a long time, Simon remained mum on the topic. But 31 years after the tune got here out, she lastly gave up her secret in 2003 — however solely to 1 particular person, then-NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol.
An odd recipient of such coveted data, the tv government had good purpose to be the co-secret keeper. He donated $50,000 in an public sale for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to earn the rights to the identify (which he couldn’t reveal) in addition to a personal efficiency over a lunch of peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches and vodka on the rocks, in keeping with the Los Angeles Times.
Ebersol was given one clue upfront: The letter “E” was within the particular person’s identify.
The following 12 months, Simon gave up a couple of extra letters, telling Regis Philbin in 2004 that the letters “A” and “R” have been additionally within the identify.
In 2010, she bought extra detailed in an interview with British music journal Uncut: “I’m just going to tell you this — the answer is on the new version of ‘You’re So Vain. ’There’s a little whisper — and it’s the answer to the puzzle.”
That whisper, about 150 seconds into the 2009 model of the tune sounds a bit like, “David,” with the “a” dragged out, according to the Washington Post. By that time, she had already eliminated famous Davids like David Bowie and David Cassidy.
The second verse is about Beatty
Simon proceeded by life, teasing and dropping hints, however protecting the identification of the conceited topic to herself. But in 2015, when she was selling her memoir, Boys within the Trees, she used her secret as ammunition for publicity.
So she did: “I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren.”
In a second when the world ought to have rejoiced for lastly getting the reply, Simon cleverly tucked in there that maybe it was really the plural type of “you” and that the primary and third verses have been about different folks.
When requested if Beatty knew it was about him, she added, “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!”
And she added extra thriller to her loophole. “Now, that doesn’t mean that the other two verses aren’t also about Warren,” she advised the BBC. “It just means that the second one is.”
Simon confirms the tune is just not about Taylor or Jagger
As a lot as Simon has dropped hints, she’s additionally eradicated some folks, sparing them of the fame of probably being useless.
A preferred goal was Taylor, who she was married to from 1972 to 1983 — together with in the course of the launch and recognition of the tune. But Simon shortly denied it was about him throughout an interview the couple did collectively for Rolling Stone in 1973.
“It’s undoubtedly not about James though James suspected that it could be about him as a result of he’s very useless,” Simon advised the music journal.
After all, there was a really direct clue within the line, “Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia.”
Simon defined, “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 a Lear.”
Taylor jumped in clarifying, “A small twin-prop.” As for his opinion on the tune? “Well, I thought it was a nice song. I heard it played on the piano and sung. I didn’t hear the production of it that’s out now. I like the tune. It has an interesting turn.”
Another musician who was spared scrutiny within the early years was Jagger. In a 1983 Washington Post story, Simon merely stated, “No.” And she reconfirmed that it wasn’t the “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” singer in her guide as nicely.
A secret fourth verse was revealed in 2015
While she didn’t disclose the entire story in her 2015 memoir, she did unveil a secret fourth verse.
The new lyrics have been: “A friend of yours revealed to me / That you’d loved me all the time, [You] kept it secret from your wives / You believed it was no crime.”
In 2017, she carried out the brand new verse from residence whereas enjoying the piano for the BBC Four’s Classic Albums.
“This is a verse that I haven’t ever sung,” she stated. “I wrote it a while ago on a pad, but it never made it into the song.”
Simon would not plan on revealing the reality
So is the tune all about Beatty? Or are there three extra well-known names on the market for every of the opposite verses? Only Simon is aware of the reality. And revealing the reality isn’t precisely on her to-do record.
“I must need to,” she advised ABC News. “I might simply must say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna must dunk you each into this fever that’s folks nonetheless eager to know.’ I nonetheless can’t perceive that!”
While that positive does appear to be there are no less than two different useless stars, even these in her closest circle don’t know the reply. “We by no means talked about it,” her supervisor in the course of the 70s, Arlyne Rothberg advised the BBC. “The answer wasn’t as important as the game.”
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