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Who's So Vain?
August 5, 2003 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Who's So Vain? Carly Simon will be revealing the inspiration for her pop classic, "You're So Vain." Suspects include Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger. My guess (you heard it here first, kids): Gene Simmons of Kiss. Who do YOU think she was singing about?
posted by twsf (69 comments total)

 
My relevance meter is clacking. Should it be clacking?
posted by squirrel at 12:10 PM on August 5, 2003


Wouldn't it be weird if Carly Simon was singing about Don McLean, and Don McLean was singing about Carly Simon?
posted by Hildago at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2003


jesus. after all this time who could possibly give a shit?!
posted by quonsar at 12:12 PM on August 5, 2003


My guess (you heard it here first, kids): Gene Simmons of Kiss.

What, not Justin Timberlake?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:12 PM on August 5, 2003


"Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC sports and NBC Olympics, said he'll never tell once Simon divulges to him the subject of her 1972 song 'You're So Vain'..."

This information could become a lucrative commodity for Simon -- short a few bucks? Auction it off to someone else.
posted by o2b at 12:13 PM on August 5, 2003


I am almost embarassed to tell you all that the song is about ME. Even though I was 11 when she wrote it. I was, um, a prodigy--yeah, that's the ticket--a prodigy when it came to the ladies. That's right. Too bad I burned out on the whole 'romance' <wink><wink> thing at 17.
posted by billsaysthis at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2003


Dick Ebersol could auction it off. And so on... The hell with the Federal Reserve: We've got a multiplier effect here that kicks the llama's ass!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2003


But Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC sports and NBC Olympics, said he'll never tell once Simon divulges to him the subject of her 1972 song "You're So Vain" after a private performance in about two weeks.

Well, that's just great.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2003


I'll never tell

/annoying trailer for Don't Say a Word
posted by witchstone at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2003


The offical site to the question.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:17 PM on August 5, 2003


That's terrible! that ruins the whole point of the song! What about the line "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you" ? That was a major jab to all her ex's, even the ones who weren't actually the inspiration, it was brilliant. Oh well!
posted by nelleish at 12:19 PM on August 5, 2003


It's a protest song. She was singing about Enver Hoxha. It's obvious when you think about it. That whole "when you walked into the party" refers to the Communist Party of Albania, and what's usually heard as "Saratoga" is really "Tirana." As for the sexual liason described in the song, Enver had a way with the ladies.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:23 PM on August 5, 2003


For the record, Simon acknowledges the song is a little about Beatty; it's a composite of three men from her L.A. days. Warren, it seems, was not a particularly good boyfriend.
So it's not just one man? 007 would be a better guess form teh lyrics:
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and....

posted by thomcatspike at 12:23 PM on August 5, 2003


I heard it was actually about Marc Bolan, but after he died in 1977 she swore an oath to never tell anyone.

Now, in heaven, Marc is crying.

CRYING TEARS OF BLOOD.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2003


Marc Bolan, No "e".
posted by thomcatspike at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2003


I've got clouds in my coffee.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:31 PM on August 5, 2003


From the Pure Oxygen interview:
well, it's certainly not, not about Warren

Double negative or just a bad stammer?
posted by xiffix at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2003


If you put the song on "repeat" in your CD player, and watch "The Wall" - It's... unbelievable!
posted by mildred-pitt at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2003


WolfDaddy - if I drank coffee, the clouds would now be sprayed all over my keyboard. (",)
posted by widdershins at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2003


Firstly, the song has been stuck in my head for the past three days because every single web page I've visitied has been running this bit of news. And since I never really cared for the song, the only part that I remember is the part where she sings the title of the song. Because that's all I remember, it's more like just having the title of the song rolling around in my head constantly. This is quite annoying.

Also, apart from selling her "secrets," Carly Simon hasn't done ANYTHING noteworthy for absolutely ages. Why does everyone suddenly care? Honestly, she never even rated more than a B-list, even at the height of her popularity.

If anyone has useful suggestions for removing the song from my head, please suggest them before I take the Max Cohen/Darren Aronofsky approach.
posted by leapfrog at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2003


I am old enough to remember the National Lampoon posit the theory that this song was about Richard Nixon's bout with phlebitis. . . . .You're Slow Vein. . . . ..

Being old sucks. . .if that is among my accessible memories
posted by Danf at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2003


yeah, ditto, etc. this piece seems like non-news PR to revive a flagging career. at least the money's going to charity.

i always thought she maintained that it wasn't about one person.

and how anticlimactic will it be for Ebersol when she says," oh yeah, it was Warren Beatty."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2003


Marc Bolan, No "e".

TCS, do you mean E. Bolan (the inventor of ebola), Marc Bolane (the dynamic front man of U. Rex), or Marce Bolan (the notorious Italian hen teaser)? Or did I totally miss something else?

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:42 PM on August 5, 2003


Duh, it was about me.

Gene Simmons is the punchline to a joke I'm working on. It begins, "What do you call a 70 year-old transvestite?"
posted by yerfatma at 12:42 PM on August 5, 2003


Me, me, me. It was about me. All me.
posted by picopebbles at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2003


Honestly, she never even rated more than a B-list, even at the height of her popularity.

Oh, please. Nobody Does It Better made her A-list if nothing else.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:45 PM on August 5, 2003


for leapfrog
posted by ginz at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2003


The auction Monday raised $500,000 to benefit Martha's Vineyard Community Services, which provides child care, counseling, substance abuse treatment services and visiting nurses to the community.

[snark]
To benefit all those starving children and uninsured homeless in Martha's Vineyard, of course.
[/snark]
posted by gramcracker at 1:00 PM on August 5, 2003


herself
posted by Peter H at 1:09 PM on August 5, 2003


Not to lower the quality of this thread, but is she still going bra-less on her album covers? At the age I was when that song came out, it's all I really cared about.
posted by tommasz at 1:21 PM on August 5, 2003


Not to lower the quality of this thread, but did she ever give Mr. Ed his teeth back?
posted by yerfatma at 1:26 PM on August 5, 2003


gramcracker, I thought something very similar.
posted by arielmeadow at 1:26 PM on August 5, 2003


hotcakes!

/rowr/
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:26 PM on August 5, 2003


I'd say it's about Morrissey, even though Moz was a 14 y.o. unknown, reclusive teenager at the time.
posted by 111 at 1:37 PM on August 5, 2003


She wrote "You're so Vain as a composite of 3 people: picopebbles, billsaythis, and yerfatma.

She wrote "Nobody Does it Better" about Me.
posted by Perigee at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2003


Useless note: "You're So Vain" appears in a scene in The Falcon and the Snowman, a film directed by John Schlesinger, a guy who died the other week.
posted by gluechunk at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2003


PinkStainlessTail, you may have a winner. :)
posted by thomcatspike at 1:44 PM on August 5, 2003


PinkStainlessTail, you may have a winner. :)
The best winners are the ones we make up. Wish the guys at OTB understood that...

She wrote "You're so Vain as a composite of 3 people: picopebbles, billsaythis, and yerfatma.

Well I'm glad that's settled. But other mysteries remain. Will we ever really know who let the dogs out?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2003


*LOL*
Yes, I have $5 for the answer to "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
posted by squirrel at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2003


Why would she write a song about Gene Simmons in 1972?
posted by 2sheets at 2:12 PM on August 5, 2003


It's Al Haig. The "e" comes from Deep Throat. Very clever, Carly, but I'm on to you!
posted by scody at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2003


Not to lower the quality of this thread, but is she still going bra-less on her album covers?

Sweet memories of WKRP in Cincinnati:
JOHNNY: Want to go check out some Carly Simon album covers?
VENUS: Sure.
Those covers were almost as formative as the Farrah poster.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:28 PM on August 5, 2003


Why would she write a song about Gene Simmons in 1972?

Well, KISS formed in '73 (yes, they've been around for thirty years), and both Simmons and Stanley were in other bands before that, so it's not without the realm of possibility ...
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:00 PM on August 5, 2003


I'm vain, and I let the dogs out.

They were getting restless.
posted by dhoyt at 3:05 PM on August 5, 2003


Yo! Woo-hoo!! Over heee-re!! Lookee -- no WMDs found yet!! Hey, reporter-boy, it's a quagmire! A QUAG-MIRE!! Hello, is this thing on? Still can't find Osama!!

Oh, fuck, it's August. Never mind.
posted by briank at 3:37 PM on August 5, 2003


Dude - I saw her in an interview, and she admitted that it was about Dave Coulier

What!? Oh, OK. Well, nevermind then...
posted by willnot at 3:49 PM on August 5, 2003


couldn't be about Jagger, since he's doing the Backing vocals on that song.

Or else dude was truly too high to realise?
posted by Sijeka at 4:17 PM on August 5, 2003


PinkStainless Tail, the "No E" reference is that Simon has said that the subject of her song has the letter "E" in his name.

e.e. cummings, then, is my guess.
posted by davidmsc at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2003


I was always under the impression it was James Caan.

I have no evidence to support this claim, however.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:40 PM on August 5, 2003


screw all you guys! I'll never reveal the Wu-Tang secret!

ok fine, rza lip synchs.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2003


Simon has said that the subject of her song has the letter "E" in his name

Ain't no one got more E's than Ed Bradlee. Is it about him?
posted by dhoyt at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2003


I think it's about Marcellus Wallace's soul.
posted by Fofer at 5:40 PM on August 5, 2003


But is Paul really dead?
posted by HTuttle at 6:39 PM on August 5, 2003


yep. he died during the filming of Help! and they had to use a computer generated Paul to finish the film out, like what they did with The Crow.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:00 PM on August 5, 2003


Re: those who scoffed at Martha's Vineyard Community Services:

Not everyone who lives on the Vineyard is rich. In fact, there are a lot of year-roiund residents who can only find jobs three months out of the year, which doesn't do wonders for the bank balance. The Wampanoag Indian reservation isn't exactly the Gold Coast, either.

Until the late seventies, the Vineyard was about half "summer people" and half blue-collar fishing folks.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:17 PM on August 5, 2003


It's about The Old Man in the Boat - shiver me vulvas matey!
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:54 PM on August 5, 2003


For some reason after I read this former TV oddity Mason Reese came to mind.
posted by thedailygrowl at 10:03 PM on August 5, 2003 [1 favorite]


And here I'd always thought it was a toss-up between Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. Oh well.

For leapfrog: hey hey, we're the monkeys

Kirkaracha, thank you for Farah. You have reminded me that not everything about the 70s was wrong. Also for the WKRP link. My favorite quote in that episode:

MR. CARLSON: We all have our ways of dealing with things. For example, I can't deal with people, so I have Jennifer tell 'em I'm dead.
posted by Bixby23 at 11:07 PM on August 5, 2003


Whenever I hear that song I think to myself:

"What about the guy that she is singing about? Is he still vain, because she is singing about him after all."

It's a conundrum.
posted by jaden at 3:31 AM on August 6, 2003


I think Peter Sellers could be a contender.
posted by Trik at 4:19 AM on August 6, 2003


Exactly, Jaden. It's why the song is so lame:

You probably think this song is about you.

...uh, it is.
posted by Vidiot at 8:39 AM on August 6, 2003


I always heard it was James Taylor she was singing about. And now I'm supposed to believe it was Qusay Hussein? Come on.
posted by schampeo at 8:54 AM on August 6, 2003


The intelligence linking Simon to Hussein is dodgey, at best.
posted by squirrel at 11:47 AM on August 6, 2003


My word - I actually agree with quonsar! OMFG, who gives a rat's ass?
posted by FormlessOne at 12:02 PM on August 6, 2003


Isn't it OBVIOUS?

Owns a lear jet.

Wears a scarf that's apricot.

Come on. Think!
posted by shmeggy at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2003


what i really want to know is who lionel ritchie was singing about in "stuck on you".
posted by centrs at 5:10 PM on August 6, 2003


Or "Say You, Say Me," centrs. I mean, think about it: "Say who, say me?"
posted by squirrel at 7:35 PM on August 6, 2003


Raspberry Sauce
posted by signal at 8:59 AM on August 7, 2003


Orson Welles... I mean, if nothing else...
posted by hoborg at 12:57 PM on August 11, 2003


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