Simon and Garfunkel – Cecilia

One of the many songs on the greatest hits album. If I remember right it closed out the second side on the album. The main thing I remember about this song is the rhythm track. Cecilia was originally on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album. The song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in Canada in 1970.

The greatest hits came out in 1972 and in 2003, the album was ranked number 293 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

 

 

 

From Songfacts

This song is about a guy who had a girlfriend, but then she broke up with him. Like it says in one of the verses, “I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed someone’s taken my place.” But later on they get back together – “Jubilation, she loves me again.”

No too much should be read into the lyrics of this song. As Paul Simon explained in an interview with Rolling Stone: “Every day I’d come back from the studio, working on whatever we were working on, and I’d play this pounding thing. So then I said, ‘Let’s make a record out of that.’ So we copied it over and extended it double the amount, so now we have three minutes of track, and the track is great. So now I pick up the guitar and I start to go, ‘Well, this will be like the guitar part’ – dung chicka dung chicka dung, and lyrics were virtually the first lines I said: ‘You’re breakin’ my heart, I’m down on my knees.’ They’re not lines at all, but it was right for that song, and I like that. It was like a little piece of magical fluff, but it works.” >>

In the Catholic church, Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. In this context, the song can be interpreted as the singer asking for musical guidance, possibly to help writing a song. Paul Simon says he can’t remember the specific inspiration when he was writing the song, but he knew Cecilia is the goddess of music. >>

According to the liner notes to Paul Simon’s Anthology album, the strange sounding rhythm to this particular track was Paul and Art slapping their thighs, while Paul’s brother Eddie thumped a piano bench and a friend named Stewie Scharff strummed a guitar with its strings slackened to the point of atonality. This all happened at a house Paul and Art were living in on Blue Jay Way in the summer of 1969, not long after the Charles Manson murders took place at the nearby home of the actress Sharon Tate. After they started the pounding and came up with the rhythm, they got out their Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder and made the recording. There was a 1:15 section that Simon thought was great, so they looped it in the studio, which wasn’t easy in 1969 – you had to actually cut out the tape and put it on the recorder in a loop. Their producer Roy Halee added some reverb, and they had their basic backing track from this home recording. 

Worked into the mix is the sound of drumsticks falling on the parquet floor of the Columbia Records studio in Los Angeles. Simon also played a bit of xylophone that was heavily processed and added to the track. They had a lot of fun recording it and were enjoying various experiments in sound.

When the Bridge Over Troubled Water album was finished, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and Roy Halee all thought this would be the first single, as catchy, upbeat songs were typically chosen to introduce a new album. Columbia Records president Clive Davis decided that the powerful, plaintive title track needed to be the album’s calling card, so he bucked convention and released that one as the first single instead. It was a shrewd move: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” went to #1 for six weeks a propelled the album to the top as well – it spent a total of 10 weeks at #1. “Cecilia” was issued as the second single.

In 1996 Suggs, the lead singer for Madness, teamed up with vocal duo Louchie Lou and Michie One to record a cover that peaked at #4 in the UK. This is the only time the song reached the Top 75 in Britain as surprisingly Simon & Garfunkel’s original 1970 single failed to chart there.

The Swedish pop group Ace Of Base recorded a song called “Cecilia” on their 1998 album Flowers that was based on the character in this song.

Cecilia

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home
Come on home

Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my bedroom (making love)
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed someone’s taken my place

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home
Come on home

Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba

Jubilation
She loves me again
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

Jubilation
She loves me again
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

12 thoughts on “Simon and Garfunkel – Cecilia”

  1. It’s interesting how this came to not be the first single from the album. Great vision in that decision to lead with Bridge Over Troubled Water instead. This song is so catchy, but I didn’t care for it as a kid. I did once I grew up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I like the song but there is not a choice of which one should be the “one.” When I got their greatest hits…I didn’t stop playing it…well ever.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a fun song, even when he’s singing about being replaced. The sound effects lend to the upbeatness. I love the tempo of it and the repeating lines, which is saying something as a lot of time those endless repetitions get on my nerves.

    Liked by 1 person

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