Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

It all started for me with a Simon and Garfunkel greatest hits package and I was instantly a fan.

Being a Beatle fan I always liked the version that Paul and George Harrison did on SNL in 1976 which was their highest rated episode up til that point. Paul played this and “Here Comes The Sun” with Paul Simon in 1976 on Saturday Night Live.

This was just the second Simon & Garfunkel single, following up “The Sound Of Silence,” which became a surprise hit when their record company added instrumentation and released it a year after it was first recorded. The duo had parted ways, but got back together in a hurry when “Sound of Silence” hit #1 in America.

The song peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #9 in the UK in 1966. It appeared on the album  Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme  but they recorded it during the Sound of Silence album sessions.

Paul Simon: “That was written in Liverpool when I was traveling. What I like about that is that it has a very clear memory of Liverpool station and the streets of Liverpool and the club I played at and me at age 22. It’s like a snapshot, a photograph of a long time ago. I like that about it but I don’t like the song that much. First of all, it’s not an original title. That’s one of the main problems with it. It’s been around forever. No, the early songs I can’t say I really like them. But there’s something naive and sweet-natured and I must say I like that about it. They’re not angry. And that means that I wasn’t angry or unhappy. And that’s my memory of that time: it was just about idyllic. It was just the best time of my life, I think, up until recently, these last five years or so, six years… This has been the best time of my life. But before that, I would say that that was.”

From Songfacts

Paul Simon lived in Brentwood, Essex, England when he wrote this song. When traveling back from Wigan, where he was playing, he got stuck at the train station and wrote this. The song has a double meaning: literally, wanting for a ticket home to Brentwood, but on the other hand, yearning to go to his home in the US. 

Along with “I Am A Rock,” this was recorded at a late-night session in New York City with producer Bob Johnston. Simon played acoustic guitar, and Ralph Casale was on electric. Johnston was working on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 album around this time, and Casale recalls that drummer Bobby Gregg and organist Al Kooper – both Dylan regulars – played on this Simon & Garfunkel session as well.

Paul Simon performed this song with Billy Joel at Joel’s concert on August 4, 2015 at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. This was the last concert at the venerable arena, and Simon was a surprise guest. It marked the first time Joel and Simon ever sung together.

Peter Carlin called his 2016 novel about Paul Simon Homeward Bound. “Given the immigrant story beneath Paul’s life and work (what are his many musical re-creations if not the assimilation process writ in music over and over again) ‘Homeward Bound’ worked too well to ignore,” he explained.

Homeward Bound

I’m sitting in the railway station.
Got a ticket to my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands my suitcase and guitar in hand.
And every stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Every day’s an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines.
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And every stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be,
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Tonight I’ll sing my songs again,
I’ll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

44 thoughts on “Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound”

  1. This song was always a favorite of mine. Their greatest hits album is still in the CD player in my car. Back in the early 70’s I was in the Air Force and would go to the library and listen to this ‘album’ with a huge set of headphones. It is engrained in me. Great feature today.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for reading. Their greatest hits I’ve owned in about every format except 8-track…it never gets old…I loved those giant headphones back then! Thank you again Maggie.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That greatest hits package they have was and is one of the best albums I ever owned. That is not a knock against their studio albums. I do have a favorite and that is America but I like all of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. great song. I’ll be honest I prefer Paul Simon’s 60’s and 70’s stuff to anything he’s done since the late 80’s, sweet and naive or not. The songs are timeless, and very open to cover versions.

    I caught Paul Simon on his next to last tour of the UK, very slick, professional and big-scaled, I also caught poor old Art the year before, low-budget, small venue and seemingly a bit out of practice, but charming with it. I did buy tickets to the farewell tour, but he cancelled an hour before the show, rescheduled, then cancelled completely. Hey ho, older pop stars get ill, par for the course.

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    1. I’m with you on that….I also prefer his older music. His older music can change my mood…it’s powerful in it’s own way.

      I have seen Paul twice in the 90s and one time with Bob Dyland…that was a great show.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh geez…she did her older songs BUT…Dylan only did one of his songs before 2000…the rest were either newer or Frank Sinatra covers…a couple of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That makes me very happy i didnt go to see him, oops sorry about that! Ive got no time for live acts who dont do some classic material. What they are basically doing is getting you to pay a fortune so they can advertise the current album. If they insist on that they should put out a statement to that effect and let people know. I saw kim wildes intimate acoustic xmas gig just before Lockdown loomed and she was so fab i bought the deluxe xmas album which she said she was going to be playing and which i knew i liked. And then she did some classic hits acoustic style anyway on top. Fab.

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      3. It was the only time he has ever done that but it surprised me. My son went with me and he knew all of his newer music so he loved it but yea I wanted to hear some of the older stuff anyway. It was the 8th time I saw him so at least I did get to see him do most everything else.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that tune, Max! As an acoustic guitar player, I’ve always admired Paul Simon’s playing. Can’t tell you how many hours and hours I practiced his finger picking style on “The Boxer.” At some point, I could play it pretty well thanks to my great guitar teacher and I guess some perseverance!

    BTW, it looks like we both started our Simon & Garfunkel journey with the same compilation: “Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits” from ’72. I also got a corresponding songbook for guitar at the time. It’s still floating around somewhere! 🙂

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  4. Great song. One of their best. As a little kid, I grew up hearing their music on radio at times and I think on record – my Mom perhaps had an album or two of theirs . I thought it was ok, but it wasn’t til the 80s, when a friend brought the GH album into work that I started to re-listen and get “into” them.

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      1. “America”s a very good one too that I didn’t know from my childhood. That Greatest Hits album was also highly influential in my getting a CD player early on, because I heard it on CD a few days or a week after hearing it on LP and the sound really blew me away on the compact disc.

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    1. That greatest hits package remains one of my favorite albums.
      It is a great song…America is probably my favorite song by them… but this one is in the top 5 or maybe 3.

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      1. I was thinking…what is he talking about??? I just saw the lyrics…I must have somehow missed this great line.

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      1. There isn’t a lot of actual text to read in it. There are a few introductory chapters that talk about his childhood with some of it transcribed by Derek Taylor. Then there are several photo plates with explanations (some silly) then it covers each song, has handwritten notes of the lyrics and a brief explanation of the song. I am reading the hardcover first edition, which is really nice (and you can get used real cheap!) as the photos are glossies and there are some excellent woodprint type illustrations and flourishes in it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never dived deep in to their catalog. I have always been a greatest hits kind a guy. Which is crazy, because as much as I like the singles, I know there are always better things on the albums for most bands (not every bad, but a good chunk of them). I do like this one and as always, a great write-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, yeah…good stuff. S&G music was in my house. Both parents liked them. My dad’s younger brother & his wife had Bridge Over Troubled Water as their wedding theme song in 1972, as odd as that sounds.

    Ralph Casale…as in the Casales from Devo?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an odd song for a wedding….It was my mom’s favorite song….she liked it by Elvis though…not me….this is the one….Naaaa it couldn’t be the same one.

      Liked by 1 person

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