Who’s So Vain?

There seems to be a bit of renewed discussion about just who Carly Simon’s song is about.   Even The New Republic and NPR are in on it.

It is possible that You’re So Vain is about a particular man.  It is possible that all of the details arise from one individual man.  But I doubt it.

It is far more likely that the song is about many men and no man.  Some of the details are likely made up from whole cloth, the rest from various people that she knew or heard about.  Carly was a beautiful woman from a bit of  wealth who was making a living in the music industry (the song is on her third album).  It is not a stretch to think that she had dated more than one or two vain men

On Simon’s website is a compilation of bits of interviews over the years on the subject.  In one she says:

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.

At times she intimates that the song is about a compilation of men.  At other times she hints it is about one man.  She seems to have a good idea of how to keep interest up.

Here we are in 2010.  Simon has barely been heard from since 1990’s Have You Seen Me Lately.  The Wikipedia discography lists eight cd releases since then, but I don’t believe there has been a lot of success with any of them.  Her latest release admits as much in its title: Never Been Gone.  She wouldn’t have to tell us that if we didn’t think she had been.

Three of those last eight cds were all covers.  One was an opera which I guess did so bad that she put a piece of it on the next cd, Letters Never Sent, in hopes that the added exposure would help.

And surprise, surprise, Never Been Gone is all covers of her own earlier (more successful) material.

And surprise, surprise, Carly sneaks in a whisper to get everyone talking about You’re So Vain once again after all these years.

For the record, I had always been a big fan of Carly Simon.  But I have not been much excited about her music since 1990.

Oh yeah.  This is my 101st post!

2 thoughts on “Who’s So Vain?”

  1. In 2005 Carly Simon released an album titled MOONLIGHT SERENADE that debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts and in 2007 her album INTO WHITE reached #13. Quite remarkable achievements after 40 years in the recording business. You may have not been excited about her music, but many people have been! :)

  2. Honey_Bunn,

    Point taken. I would just say that both of those albums are all covers, so it isn’t her music so much as her singing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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