Paul Simon – The Late Great Johnny Ace ——— Songs that reference The Beatles

I was living in London, With the girl from the summer before, It was the year of the Beatles, It was the year of the Stones 

On a cold December evening, I was walking through the Christmas tide, When a stranger came up and asked me If I’d heard John Lennon had died 

This song referenced both Johnny Ace the R&B Artist who supposedly have shot himself in a game of Russian roulette in 1954, JFK and John Lennon who was killed on December 8, 1980.

I remember the song on the Simon & Garfunkel reunion concert in Central Park video. When Paul started the part about Lennon a man rushed the stage, shocking Paul especially since it was under a year since Lennon’s murder.

“The Late Great Johnny Ace” is a song by Paul Simon, which is on the 1983 Hearts and Bones album.

The Late Great Johnny Ace

I was reading a magazine 
And thinking of a rock and roll song 
The year was 1954 
And I hadn’t been playing that long 
When a man came on the radio 
And this is what he said 
He said I hate to break it 
To his fans 
But Johnny Ace is dead 
Well, I really wasn’t 
Such a Johnny Ace fan 
But I felt bad all the same 
So I sent away for his photograph 
And I waited till it came 
It came all the way from Texas 
With a sad and simple face 
And they signed it on the bottom 
From the Late Great Johnny Ace 
It was the year of the Beatles 
It was the year of the Stones 
It was 1964 
I was living in London 
With the girl from the summer before 
It was the year of the Beatles 
It was the year of the Stones 
A year after J.F.K. 
We were staying up all night 
And giving the days away 
And the music was flowing 
Amazing 
And blowing my way 
On a cold December evening 
I was walking through the Christmas tide 
When a stranger came up and asked me 
If I’d heard John Lennon had died 
And the two of us 
Went to this bar 
And we stayed to close the place 
And every song we played 
Was for the Late Great Johnny Ace

Author: badfinger20

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

16 thoughts on “Paul Simon – The Late Great Johnny Ace ——— Songs that reference The Beatles”

  1. Simon once called this a jinxed song. Not only the incident at the concert in Central Park- which still is spooky when you remember what happened nearby not that long before– and also I think he was on Letterman or some late night show playing the song and a guitar string broke. Love the song- my favorite song on my favorite Paul Simon album- Hearts and Bones..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can see fear in his eyes when that guy rushed the stage…with good reason after what happened.
      I was watching the Letterman show that night…it was spooky. It is a very clever song and combing those together.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand people take music seriously, but when I see these nuts going after musicians (and other celebrities) it creeps me out. I remember Eddie Vedder talking about being stalked and having to live in a fortified fortress because of it. To see this captured on video and have a closeup camera on Paul’s face while it’s happening, wow.

    Liked by 1 person

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