Did Carly Simon Auction Off the Identity of Who “You’re So Vain” Was About for $50,000?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Carly Simon auctioned off the identity of who “You’re So Vain” was about for $50,000!

One of the great mysteries of pop music is who is the “mystery man” behind Carly Simon’s 1972 smash hit, “You’re So Vain.”

The song rips apart a vain man and has the striking chorus, “You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you.”

Various suggested targets have been Simon’s ex-husband James Taylor, actor Warren Beatty and musician Mick Jagger (who sang back-up on the song).

Beatty is the only one of those three who Simon has not said “no” to over the years (although, who knows if she was being genuine when she turned down the others)

In any event, in 2003, Simon offered up for a charity auction the secret behind the song.

The winning bidder was Dick Ebersol, longtime TV executive (and friend of Simon’s)…

Ebersol paid $50,000 for the information!

He had to sign a confidentiality agreement beforehand and finally, at midnight (after dining on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and vodka), Simon told him the information.

I hope it was worth it, Dick!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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2 Responses to “Did Carly Simon Auction Off the Identity of Who “You’re So Vain” Was About for $50,000?”

  1. ParanoidObsessive on January 27th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    If I recall correctly, Carly Simon eventually allowed Ebersol to reveal one of the letters of the name (which was “E”).

  2. David Geffen

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