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You’re so vain: I probably think this song is about me.

Knows this song is about me.

In looking over the news on the internet this morning I see that once again there is fresh speculation on who Carly Simon was singing about in her 1972 hit song, You’re So Vain.

The latest theory focuses on recording executive David Geffen. Wrong.

I think the song is about me.

Those of you who actually know me are doing some quick math and dismissing this as more delusions of grandeur. I can hear you now: “you were eleven years old in 1972, don’t be ridiculous.”

Y’know, it sort of ticks me off when you’re dismissive like that. Would it kill you to hear me out? Thank you.

Now, let’s examine a few of the lyrics of the song.

“Well you’re where you should be all the time.” I am very reliable. I’m always prompt. I hate being late. If you ask me to be someplace, that is where you’ll find me.

Has anyone ever said to you “it’s a good thing you were here” or “you got here just in time”? I didn’t think so. They say it to me. I am where I should be.

Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won. I never went up to Saratoga. Generally, my parents didn’t let me leave the state when I was eleven. Also there was that whole thing about being eleven and hanging out at racetracks. It would seem that I had no connection to horse racing in 1972.

Sometimes things are not what they seem. When I was young, my dad and I were at home and the Kentucky Derby was on the television. Dad told me how to pick the winning horse. Essentially, Dad’s method was to watch the horses as they warmed up and pick the one he saw stop to do what bears do in the woods. I watched carefully, noted the  number of the steed that did his buisness and that horse naturally won.

Truthfully though, among the many things I am grateful to my father for is that he did not choose a career in gambling. We’d have starved.

Stop looking at this picture or you'll go blind.

Then you flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.

I like eclipses. My Mom bought paper plates once just so we could poke holes in them to look at an eclipse using the method my teacher told me was the safest.

I didn’t fly up to Nova Scotia (see above reference to not being allowed out of the state) but I did go into my front yard. The flying to Nova Scotia thing was just poetic licence.

You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte. This line is the one that convinced me that this song is about me. It was referenced in one article on my internet news page. Since 1972, I have thought the line was “watched yourself go by.” Apparently not.

I had to look up gavotte. The gavotte is a baroque French folk dance. Here is a video of some people gavotting, gavottizing doing that dance:

If I was doing that, I would absolutely have one eye in the mirror. I would be looking at myself wondering what I was doing and why. I’d also have some really important questions about my pants.

There is no question, at eleven years old, I would have watched myself gavotte for the sheer confusing spectacle of it. Carly knew that and put it to music.

There are a lot of other lines, most of which are window dressing Carly added to spice up the life of eleven year old me. The song wouldn’t have been a hit if she wrote about me bringing my lunch to school in a paper bag, wishing I could play third base like Brooks Robinson or watching Speed Racer.

Mystery solved. I’m so vain. Any questions?

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12 Comments on “You’re so vain: I probably think this song is about me.”

  1. KathiD says:

    Well, I have always just assumed it was about you. I’m glad to have the evidence.

    • omawarisan says:

      A few people approached me in the ’80’s with that assumption. I denied it at the time, but after all these years, I realized that the whole question popping up every few years is just designed to drive Carly’s record sales. She won’t cut me in, so I decided to put the word out.

  2. spencercourt says:

    So when is the “tell all” book? Enquiring minds want to know all the details!

    • omawarisan says:

      Soon. Here is an excerpt:

      They day we went shopping for clothes for the swing photo shoot a few years ago was a disaster. I didn’t know why I was there.

      She picked out this brownish green hat, put it on and said “what do you think?” I told her I didn’t like it. It was a calculated risk;I knew she’d not taken that sort of thing well in the past, but I hoped I could get out of there as a result.

      Carly lost her temper and started yelling at me. I pointed out that it wasn’t like we were married or dating and as a result, was not sure why I was on this little jaunt. She allowed that was a good point.

      We went to the food court and had Chick-fil-a Sandwiches. I caught a ride to work and she went back to shopping.

      She bought the hat.

  3. linlah says:

    The only version of who that song is about that I know is James Taylor and I can’t imagine him doing a govette. Maybe Carly got upset because she was really buying that hat for you and when you indicated you didn’t like it that’s what started the argument because obviously, from your many points, that song is about you.

    • omawarisan says:

      I hadn’t thought of that regarding the hat. I feel awful now.

      I hope, despite having a more vivid minds eye picture of James Taylor than you do of me, that you can’t imagine me a gavotte either.

  4. shoutabyss says:

    Speaking of Carly Simon, I saw this video on someone’s blog recently (sorry I forget who) and favorited it. It’s good stuff. Carly Simon and James Taylor singing Mockingbird. I hope you enjoy!

    Mockingbird – Carly Simon & James Taylor

  5. queensgirl says:

    I didn’t know until this very second that the line wasn’t “you watched yourself go by.” Although I did, somehow, know what a gavotte is.

    • omawarisan says:

      I’d have gone to my grave thinking it was watched yourself go by if I hadn’t run across that in an article.

      Conjugate the verb “to gavotte”…ready, GO!

  6. Karen says:

    Wow, I thought this had been settled in the duet Carly did with Janet Jackson called “Son of a Gun.” (Cuidado — this is not a family-friendly song. Don’t listen with the kids in the car!)

    She said, and I quote, “The apricot scarf was worn by Nick. Nothing in the words refer(s) to Mick.” I guess Oma is a tougher rhyme.

    Could we revisit, though, the fact that your parents forbade interstate travel, yet allowed their nine year old son to wear an apricot scarf?

    • omawarisan says:

      It was the ’70’s, it was a different time. You should have seen the leisure suit that went with the apricot scarf. I was the coolest 9 year old ever.


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