Carly Simon finally says who “You’re So Vain” is written about, confirms what we knew all along

When Carly Simon wrote the song You’re So Vain, her career changed forever, and yet the song remains one of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest mysteries. Who is the person Simon is singing about?

Well, Carly herself has revealed who the classic song is about.

The 1970’s sure was a time for great music. During the 1960’s, bands like The Beatles had conquered the world, and now it was time for the likes of Bob Dylan and others to take over.

Carly Simon – singer/songwriter

One of those who did just that was Carly Simon. The wonderful singer/songwriter became one of the most popular artists when her career began to grow in the early 1970’s.

We’ve all heard You’re so Vain and various other classics from the New Yorker. But what about her life? And who was You’re so Vain actually about? This is the story of the wonderful Carly Simon.

Carly Simon was born on June 25, 1945, in New York City, the youngest daughter of an upper-class New York family. Her father Richard Simon was the co-founder of the Simon & Schuster publishing company.

Carly Simon – childhood

Now, Carly’s childhood wasn’t exactly perfect. As a third daughter, she often felt inadequate. Did her parents really want her?

“After two daughters he’d been counting on a son, a male successor to be named Carl. When I was born, he and Mommy simply added a y to the word, like an accusing chromosome: Carly,” she said.

When she was just 7 or 8 years old, Carly experienced a string of disturbing sexual encounters with a teenage boy.

“I didn’t realize that I was being used,” she said in an interview with USA Today. “I thought of myself as being in love with him. I’m sure a lot of girls go through the same thing.”

As a young girl, Carly got to see what the music industry was all about. But it would be some time before she would become the sensation she was.

Simon split her time between her family’s townhouse in Greenwich Village, New York and a wonderful estate in Stamford, Connecticut. The estate in Stamford saw the young girl surrounded by celebrities like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Simon family were also good friends of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, who soon would take Carly under his wing. Jackie Robinson and his family lived in the Stamford house while their own home was under construction.

Befriended Jackie Robinson

She got to sit in the dugout at the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn – home of the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. Soon, she became the unofficial mascot of the team.

“Jackie even taught me how to bat lefty, though it never took”, Simon wrote in her memoir Boys in the Trees (2015).

“He always had the cutest look around the side of his mouth, as if he were thinking about what he was about to say before he said it.”

However, the family would go through a tragedy. Simon’s father was strong-armed out of his own company, and died in 1960, just before his daughter’s 16th birthday.

For her part, Carly showed an early interest in music. She started singing together with brother Joey – who later became a successful writer, writing the music for the Broadway show The Secret Garden – but later, it was her and her sister who would go on to pursue a career in the business.

As Carly wrote on her website, she and sister Lucy taught themselves three chords on the guitar and hitch-hiked up to Provincetown, MA in the summer of 1964.

The Simon Sisters – as they called themselves – sang at a local bar called The Moors, with a repertoar consisting of folk music, as well as some of their own songs.

Touring with sister Lucy

Carly Simon and Lucy were eventually signed to Kapp Records and played a couple of clubs in Greenwich Village, opening for early comedians Woody Allen and Dick Cavett, among others, and even played in the UK.
In her memoir, Simon recalls the boat trip across the Atlantic heading home.

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