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WMG / Youre So Vain Theories

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Carly Simon's hit You're So Vain is said to have been written about a famous man with whom she had a very bad relationship (link goes to The Other Wiki). Carly refuses to admit who this man is; only one other person knows and he is sworn to secrecy (see below). The person addressed in the song remains a mystery, but we have our theories...

"You're So Vain" is about none other than Odin, ruler of the Norse pantheon.
Let's recap:
  • "Your hat strategically dipped below one eye" — Odin sacrificed one of his eyes to drink from the Well of Wisdom, giving him knowledge of the past, present, and future. In his guise as Vegtam, the Wanderer, he's often depicted with a hat with a wide brim, angled to hide his empty socket.
    • Likewise, he "had one eye on the mirror" because he only has one eye, period. Two-eyed people are typically incapable of keeping just one eye on something.
  • "Your horse naturally won." — Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, naturally wins races against ordinary four-legged horses.
  • "You flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun." — There was a total eclipse of the sun in Nova Scotia on July 20, 985, just about the time the Vikings were spreading into Greenland, and that Norwegian Bjarni Herjolfsson may have landed in Newfoundland. Given that Odin would likely be with his worshippers in either of those places, it's not that far of a flight (the "Lear jet" is obviously a modern metaphor for whatever transportation Odin would have used) to Nova Scotia.
    • It could also be about Zeus, ruler of the Greek pantheon. Odin was fairly faithful to his wife where Zeus was a bit of a player.

"You're So Vain" is about Roger Daltrey.
And concurrently, the same person referred to in "Who Are You?" is Carly Simon. The two had a tryst in the early 1970s that ended badly. Carly wrote "You're So Vain" to get back at him. When he finally realized what was going on, Roger came up with "Who Are You?" to express his feelings about the whole thing — lamenting that nobody can measure up to her but recognizing that she was a duplicitous, evil woman who he never truly knew.
  • Jossed: "Who Are You" is about Pete Townshend waking up in the doorway of a London pub after a long night of drinking. The "who" in question is Townshend, as a cop who recognized him said he's let him go home by himself if he was sober enough to identify himself. Even if the theory were true, Roger has contributed to exactly one song ("Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere") in The Who's 50+ year career.

The person in "You're So Vain" is the real Deep Throat, Bob Woodward's secret informant during his investigation into the Watergate scandal.
In the early aught's (2005), Deep Throat's identity was revealed to be FBI Associate Director William Mark Felt. Just a few years earlier (2003), Dick Ebersol made a winning bid of bid $50,000; he won the opportunity to be told, by Carly Simon herself, who the song is about. So the identity of the "You're So Vain" guy is revealed two years before "Deep Throat" identifies himself. Coincidence? Oh, we don't think so.

The person referred to in Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is the same person in Billy Joel's "Big Shot". And the same person from Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake". And it is also whomever Alanis Morissette is angry at in "You Oughta Know" and whomever Roger Daltrey is angry at in "Who Are You."
  • And all of the above are Odin (or, barring that, Roger Daltrey and/or Deep Throat). Even the Guys Want Him
    • Or perhaps Odin is the informant known as Deep Throat. As a god, he'd be able to witness everything that happened during Watergate, and decided that the truth needed to come out, and contacted Woodward and Bernstein while disguised as Mark Felt.
    • As "Big Shot" is clearly directed at a woman ("They were all impressed with your Halston dress"), this is clearly impossible.
      • Unless Uncle Joey is a cross dresser, deep throat, and a Norse god.
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    • Roger Daltrey isn't mad at anyone in "Who Are You." He's singing about a cop who once told a publicly hung over Pete Townshend that he'd let him go home if he could answer the eponymous question.

"You're So Vain" is always about the listener.
Well, it is written using second person pronouns...

"You're So Vain" is about Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo
All the girls want to be his partner and he wears an apricot scarf. Who else could it be, really?
  • To elaborate, Carly was visiting a friend or relative and saw their kids watching a Scooby-Doo marathon and decided to join them. After a few episodes, she was disgusted by Fred and decided to write this song.

"You're So Vain" is about one of Carly's lovers
The top guess is that it's Warren Beatty

"You're So Vain" isn't about anyone; Carly Simon wanted to screw with people
Ever since the song came out, she and her staff and friends have been sitting back Passing the Popcorn and laughing at the various theories everyone comes up with.

"You're So Vain" is about Carly Simon
The song specifically states "you're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you." The person who she is singing this song to isn't important; what's important is the way he made her feel. This song is about her and her experiences and feelings and that the man she's singing to will never be able to understand that because he thinks just because he plays a role in the song he automatically thinks it's all about him. The fact that people are still asking who the song is *about* after all these years highlights this sort of self-centered thinking.

The person in "You're So Vain" became Dick Ebersol.

A mixture between two of them. when the song was written, Simon didn't have anyone in mind, she just wanted to screw with people. Cut to 2003, when Dick Ebersol had paid $50,000 for Simon to tell him exactly who he wrote the song about. Ebersol was then sworn to secrecy about the identity of the person the song was about after she told him, but Ebersol was allowed to say one clue: The person who the song was about had a letter 'E' in his name...

"You're So Vain" is about Jimmy Durante

Is there a reason for this other than Rule of Funny?

The song isn't about a particular individual...

...rather, it was inspired by several different people with whom she'd had relationships, or inspired by bad relationships in general. People assumed that it was directed at someone specific, but it was actually written to be vague so that various people she'd had failed affairs with might assume that it was about them, while she was mocking their vanity to assume that she'd target them. Makes the chorus all the more cutting, don't you think?

Also both "several people" and "bad affairs in general" (as well as numerous other wordings that fit either possibility) fitthe "A" "R" and "E" clue.

Once Carly Simon dies, Dick Ebersol will reveal what she told him
Because there's no way she'd be able to sue him then. Alternatively, if he's afraid of being sued by Carly's estate, he will reveal the truth in a document that is to be opened only after his death.

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