1972Released
4:18

Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about You're So Vain. By Songfacts®.

The person Simon is singing about in this song remains a mystery, as she has never made it clear who she wrote it about; rumors include Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, and Mick Jagger, all of whom she had affairs with. Simon has been elusive and changed her story a bit when asked the inevitable question about the song (strange considering the album title). In 1974, she told Modern Hi-Fi and Music: "That song is about a lot of people. I mean I can think of a lot of people. The actual examples that I've used in the song are from my imagination, but the stimulus is directly from a couple of different sources. It's not just about one particular person." The media and the general public seemed to want this to be about a specific person, however, and Simon was happy to indulge. In a 2008 interview to promote her album This Kind of Love, she said: "When I had the line 'You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you,' that was definitely about one person. The rest of the descriptions basically came from my relationship with that person." When it came time to promote her memoir Boys in the Trees in 2015, Simon divulged that the second verse ("You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive...") is about Warren Beatty, and said that the other verses are about two different men, whom she wouldn't name. As for Beatty's reaction, Simon said, "Warren thinks the whole thing is about him."

Richard Perry, who produced the album, has his own ideas about the song's subject matter. He said in the book The Record Producers: "It's about a compilation of men that Carly had known, but primarily Warren Beatty."

Simon started recording this with Harry Nilsson singing backup, but Mick Jagger ended up singing on it instead (listen for him on the "don't you" parts), although he was not credited on the album. When asked how she was able to get him, Simon said: "I guess it was kind of chance in a way. I was in London, it was 1972 and he happened to call at the studio while I was doing the background vocals with Harry Nilsson. Mick said 'Hey, what cha doin'?' and I said 'We're doing some backup vocals on a song of mine... why don't you come down and sing with us?' So Mick and Harry and I stood around the mic singing 'You're So Vain' and Harry was such a gentleman - he knew the chemistry was between me and Mick; in terms of the singing, so he sort of bowed out saying, 'The two of you have a real blend - you should do it yourselves.'"

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of You're So Vain.
CKey
MajorMode
4/4Time Signature
106BPM

Album

The album You're So Vain is released on.

Released By

The record label that has released You're So Vain.
Rhino/Elektra
© 1972 Elektra Entertainment
℗ 1972 Elektra Entertainment, manufactured and marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company

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