Soft Rock Music
The big question regarding this song has always been (and remains), which ex-boyfriend was Carly singing about? Despite the name of Simon’s 1972 album No Secrets on which this song was released, the person is still a secret. Over the years, there has been speculation that it was Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, or Mick — all of whom were special friends to Carly. However, in interview after interview, Simon says that lyrics are a composite of different sources; it’s not about one particular person.
In 2003, Simon had an auction on Martha’s Vineyard for a charitable cause, and offered to tell the highest bidder, the person behind the song. Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports, won for $50,000. He signed a confidentiality agreement, and she told him. However, it’s still a mystery for the rest of us.
The line “clouds in my coffee” was inspired during a cross-country flight when she looked down at the clouds reflected in her cup of coffee. It made her think of the confusion we have between life and love; sometimes it’s a mirage.
The single was released late in 1972, and by 1973 it rose to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart, in Australia, in Canada, In New Zealand. It was #3 in the U.K. and #4 in Ireland and South Africa. The No Secrets album was certified platinum in the U.S and gold in the U.K.
Simon originally had Harry Nilsson doing the background vocals. Mick Jagger joined during the recording session. Nilsson felt that they blended better and graciously bowed out.
Carly Simon has continued to write, record, tour, and perform for many decades.