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Obscure Song Monday – You’re So Vain

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This is our weekly feature called “Obscure Song Monday.” Each week we spotlight a song from the 70’s or 80’s that was a big hit on the charts – but over time – seemed to have been forgotten about. 

This week’s obscure song is “You’re So Vain”,  a 1972 hit from Carly Simon. The song  comes from her third studio album, “No Secrets” and was released in November of that year.

According to Wikipedia, the song is about a current or former lover of Simon who is convinced the song is about them, hence the line “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”.

The person the song is about has been the subject of speculation since it’s release in the early 1970’s. Simon has offered up clues to the person’s identity but has never revealed who it is. In 1972, before it became a hit, Simon told an interviewer “You’re So Vain” is not about one particular “man”, but instead it’s about “men”.

Over the years, she has claimed the name of the person has the letters “A” – “E” and “R” in it.

Simon said actor Warren Beatty thanked her for the song. In a 2007 interview, Beatty said “Let’s be honest. That song was about me.”

Other possible “men” the song could be referencing includes, singer James Taylor whom Simon was married to before writing the song, David Bowie, David Cassidy and even Cat Stevens.

In the summer of 2003, Simon agreed to reveal the name of the mysterious subject to the highest bidder of the Martha’s Vineyard Possible Dreams charity auction. President of NBC Sports, Dick Ebersol and a close friend of Simon had the top bid of $50,000 and won the right to know the name of the person. A condition was Ebersol not reveal the name.

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Sirius/XM radio host Howard Stern claims Simon revealed the name to him in 2008 as did Taylor Swift in 2013.

In the fall of 2015, in her (then) about to be published memoir – Simon finally admitted that the second verse of the song was in fact about Warren Beatty, however the two other names have yet to be revealed. She also admitted it in a 2015 article on

“You’re So Vain” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January, 1973, remaining in that position for three weeks. It was also ranked at #82 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time and was #216 on the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) Songs of the Century.

Obscure Song Monday – Total Eclipse of the Heart


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