Paul Simon – Old

I heard this in 2000 and it sounded like the Paul Simon of old…no pun intended.  It’s about when people telling you…you are getting old whether you are there or not.

It was on the album You’re The One released in 2000. You’re The One was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2001. As a result Simon became the first artist to be nominated in that category in five consecutive decades (1960s-2000s). Paul McCartney also joined that club in 2006 with his album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.

You’re the One‘s generally upbeat tone arose out of his happy home life with singer Edie Brickell and their children… “the first time that I ever had domestic bliss.”

You’re The One peaked at #19 in the Billboard Album Chart, #8 in Canada, and #20 in the UK. This release was 3 years after his album Songs from the Capeman which contained songs from a Broadway Play he wrote.

Old

The first time I heard ‘Peggy Sue’, I was twelve years old
Russians up in a rocket ships and the war was cold
Now many wars have come and gone, genocide still goes on
Buddy Holly still goes on, but his catalog was sold

First time I smoked, guess what, paranoid
First time I heard ‘Satisfaction’, I was young and unemployed
Down the decades every year, summer leaves and my birthday’s here
And all my friends stand up and cheer

Say man you’re old
Getting old
You’re old
You’re getting old

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day
And Buddha found Nirvana along the Lotus Way
About fifteen hundred years ago the messenger Mohammed spoke
And his wisdom like a river flowed through hills of gold

Wisdom is old
The Koran is old
The Bible is old
Greatest story ever told

Disagreements?
Work ’em out

The human races walked the Earth for two point seven million
And we estimate the universe about thirteen to fourteen billion
When all these numbers tumble into your imagination
Consider that the Lord was there before creation

God is old
We’re not old
God is old
He made the mold

Take your clothes off
Adam and Eve

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.

Paul Simon – The Boy In The Bubble

“The bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio”

That lyric got my attention when I first heard the song. The song sounded so different at the time than anything else that was going on.

Paul Simon wrote the lyrics for this song when he returned to America from South Africa When he was there his concern was recording just the music.

The words had to work with the track that Simon’s producer Roy Halee assembled from the reels of tape they returned with. It took Simon a long time to finish the lyrics, working in phrases like “the boy in the bubble and the baby with the baboon heart” in a way that would mesh with the African rhythm.

This song is credited to Simon and Forere Motloheloa.

There was a United Nations cultural boycott in place that was designed to pressure political leaders into giving up their Apartheid policy. The boycott was to keep popular musicians away from places like Sun City where they played to the white ruling class in South Africa. The problem was that any violation of the boycott could undermine the sanctions, and many locals were not happy with Simon’s visit. Some people still complain about him making this album there.

These South African sanctions didn’t just keep outside musicians away from the country, but it also kept their local music from getting out… Simon only heard it because a friend gave him a bootleg cassette tape.

The song peaked at #86 in the Billboard 100 in 1986. The singles off the album didn’t have huge success in Billboard because they didn’t fit easily into the 80’s radio formats.

Paul Simon: “‘The Boy In The Bubble’ devolved down to hope and dread. That’s the way I see the world, a balance between the two, but coming down on the side of hope.”

The Boy In The Bubble

It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry, baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry

It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all, oh yeah

The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry

It’s a turn-around jump shot
It’s everybody jump start
It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
Medicine is magical and magical is art
Think of the boy in the bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart

And I believe
These are the days of lasers in the jungle
Lasers in the jungle somewhere
Staccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires and baby

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all, oh yeah

The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry, don’t cry

 

Paul Simon – Graceland

I enjoyed this song and album when it was released. It was somewhat of a comeback for Simon. I traveled to Graceland the same year it was released for the first time. I got ignored by the guide. It was 1987 and the guide brought up the Beatles and I asked a question about it…I cannot remember the question. The second question I asked was about Bruce Springsteen…how he supposedly climbed the gate to give Elvis the song “Fire” but Elvis wasn’t at home. She finally asked..do we have any more questions…and looked at me…” about Elvis?” I shook my head no and continued…

Part of this song is an account of Paul Simon’s marriage breakup with his first wife Peggy Harper. The nine-year-old “traveling companion” he refers to is their son Harper, who three years later, at the age of 12, accompanied his father on the Graceland tour. Harper Simon, born in 1972, developed into a singer-songwriter.

The song only charted at #81 in the Billboard 100 in 1987…which is surprising to me now. It got a lot of airplay at the time.

At first, Simon considered the word “Graceland” a placeholder title until he could come up with something better – maybe something that had to do with Africa. After a while, he realized the title wasn’t going away, and he got comfortable with it.

Paul Simon: “I couldn’t replace it. I thought, Maybe I’m supposed to go to Graceland. Maybe I’m supposed to go on a trip and see what I’m writing about, and I did.”

Paul Simon: “The track has a beautiful emptiness to it. That’s what made me think of Sun Records when it was nothing but slapback echo and the song.”

From Songfacts

Graceland is the mansion in Memphis, Tennessee where Elvis Presley lived; it is where Elvis is buried, and it is now a museum and popular tourist attraction. Paul Simon started calling his song “Graceland” after he came up with the track, which reminded him of the Sun Records sound where Elvis recorded.

Simon says this song is an example of “how a collaboration works even when you’re not aware of it occurring.” He traveled to South Africa in February 1985 and recorded with a variety of local musicians. One of these sessions was with an accordion player named Forere Motloheloa, who played on the song “The Boy in the Bubble.” These sessions produced a drum sound that Simon liked, which he described in the 2012 Graceland reissue: “The drums were kind of a traveling rhythm in country music – I’m a big Sun Records fan, and early-’50s, mid-’50s Sun Records you hear that beat a lot, like a fast, Johnny Cash type of rhythm.”

Simon put together a rhythm section comprised of three African musicians: guitarist Ray Phiri, fretless bass player Baghiti Khumalo, and drummer Isaac Mtshali. Simon played the drums for Phiri, and asked him to play something over it. Phiri started to play his version of American Country on electric guitar, which were chords not frequently used in African music: minor chords. When Simon asked him why he played that, Phiri responded, “I was just imitating the way you write.”

With Phiri playing his approximation of Amercian country, and Baghiti playing a straight ahead African groove on bass, Simon felt there was a commonality in the music, and he wrote a lyric to express that.

Simon describes that trip in the song; he drove to Graceland from Louisiana on Route 61, and the lyrics were his thoughts of the countryside: “The Mississippi Delta is shining like a National guitar.” When he finally got to Graceland, he took the famous tour.

This is the title track of Simon’s most successful album, selling over 15 million copies and winning a Grammy for Album of the Year. It is an album focusing mostly on African music, but it also explores other forms of non-mainstream music, like Zydeco. Simon considers this song to be less African-sounding than most of the other African-based tracks. The single also won Simon his third Record of the Year award – he previously won for “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Paul Simon’s visit to South Africa was no easy task, as many nations were boycotting the country because of their racist apartheid policy. However, the United Nations Anti-Apartheid Committee supported his efforts since he only recorded with black South African musicians and did not collaborate with the government in any way. This didn’t appease some critics, who felt that violating sanctions undermined efforts to effect change in the country, no matter his artistic intentions. Ultimately, the Graceland project helped raise awareness to the apartheid struggle and expose many South African musicians to a global audience. The sanctions were put in place mainly to prevent entertainers from performing lucrative gigs at the Sun City resort, and Simon did nothing to support the corrupt government there.

Regarding the lyrics, “There’s a girl in New York City who calls herself the human trampoline,” Simon explained to SongTalk magazine: “That line came to me when I was walking past the Museum of Natural History. For no reason, I can think of. It’s not related to anybody. Or anything. It just struck me as funny. Although that’s an image that people remember, they talk about that line. But really, what interested me was the next line, because I was using the word ‘Graceland’ but it wasn’t in the chorus. I was bringing ‘Graceland’ back into a verse. Which is one of the things I learned from African music: the recapitulation of themes can come in different places.”

Explaining the World Music component of this song in the album reissue, Simon explained: “The part of me that had ‘Graceland’ in my head I think was subconsciously reacting to what I first heard in the drums, which was some kind of Sun Records/country/blues amalgam. What Ray was doing was mixing up his aural recollections of what American country was and what kind of chord changes I played. So the whole song really is one sound evoking a response, and that eventually became a lyric that instead of being about a South African subject or a political subject, it became a traveling song. That’s really the secret of World Music is that people are able to listen to each other, made associations, and play their own music that sounds like it fits into another culture.”

Several months after the initial recording sessions, Nigerian pedal steel guitarist Demola Adepoju was added to the track. This added a sound familiar to both American and African music, as the pedal steel guitar is a popular instrument in West Africa.

This song has stood the test of time, but when it was released as a single, it only charted at #82 in the US and didn’t crack the charts in the UK. It didn’t fit neatly into any radio formats like “You Can Call Me Al,” so it lacked hit potential. It did find an audience as part of the album, which went to #1 in the UK and stayed on the charts for nearly two years. In America, the album peaked at #3 but stayed on the chart for 97 weeks.

Don and Phil Everly of the Everly Brother sang backup on this track. Paul Simon and his musical partner Art Garfunkel idolized the Everlys and recorded their song “Bye Bye Love” for their Bridge Over Troubled Water album. Simon said he heard “Graceland” as “a perfect Everly Brothers song.”

In a 1993 interview on Larry King Live, Simon said this was his favorite song.

The B-side of the single was “Hearts And Bones,” which can be found on the album of the same name, released three years prior to Graceland.

Simon’s second wife, Carrie Fisher, was the topic of some of the songs on his 1983 Hearts and Bones album, including the title track. They got married that year, divorced a year later, but kept an on-and-off relationship throughout the ’80s. Fisher told Rolling Stone, “‘Graceland’ has part of us in it.”

Graceland

The Mississippi Delta
was shining like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war

I’m going to Graceland, Graceland
Memphis, Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland

My traveling companion is nine years old
He is the child of my first marriage
But I’ve reason to believe
We both will be received
In Graceland

She comes back to tell me she’s gone
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed
As if I’d never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
And she said, “losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow”

I’m going to Graceland
Memphis, Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland

And my traveling companions
Are ghosts and empty sockets
I’m looking at ghosts and empties
But I’ve reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I’m falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
“Whoa, so this is what she means”
She means we’re bouncing into Graceland
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Well, everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

Ooh, ooh, ooh
In Graceland, in Graceland
I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see
Graceland
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

Whoa, oh, oh
In Graceland, in Graceland, in Graceland
I’m going to Graceland

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

Simon & Garfunkel – I Am A Rock

I first found this song on Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits. At times everyone could relate to this song. Beautiful melody along with lyrics about someone shutting themselves from life. The verse I’ve built walls, A fortress deep and mighty, That none may penetrate, I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain, I am a rock, I am an island… says it all.

The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #6 in Canada, #2  in New Zealand, and #17 in the Uk in 1966.

In the UK, this was released three times in a one year span: first as the original Paul Simon single in 1965, then in the summer of 1966, it was released as an EP and again as a single. The song was very popular there in 1966, but the chart position suffered because the sales of the single were diluted by multiple releases.

From Songfacts

This song is about a recluse locking himself away from the world. When he says, “I am a rock, I am an island,” he means away from everything and everyone. It’s far from autobiographical, as Paul Simon was doing his best to write a hit song with this effort, and didn’t write it for himself. The use of the word “rock” is interesting in that Simon considered himself a folk singer, and didn’t associate himself with rock music. In the vast majority of songs with the word “rock” in the lyrics, it is used to imply music or lifestyle, but for Simon, it was just a piece of stone. He did the same thing in 1973 for his song “Loves Me Like A Rock.”

This song has one of more perplexing histories of recordings and releases. Written by Paul Simon before he hit it big as a musician, the song was offered to the duo Chad and Jeremy, who turned it down. Simon then recorded it himself for his UK solo album (released in America 1981) The Paul Simon Songbook, which was released in the UK in August 1965. The single was issued in September but didn’t chart despite a performance by Simon on the show Ready, Steady. Go!

Simon was going solo at this time because the Simon & Garfunkel 1964 debut album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. had stiffed, and the duo split up. Late in 1965, the producer Tom Wilson overdubbed and remixed a track from that album, “The Sound Of Silence,” and it became a huge hit. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were summoned back to the studio, where they recorded the singles “I Am A Rock” and “Homeward Bound,” which were included on their Sound of Silence album. These songs were recorded with producer Bob Johnston at one of the Columbia Records studios in New York City, and now released with a more contemporary sound, “I Am A Rock” became a hit for the duo.

The guitarist on the Simon & Garfunkel hit version of this song was Ralph Casale, who was a top session player in the ’60s. He remembers organist Al Kooper and drummer Bobby Gregg – both associated with Bob Dylan – also performing on the song. Describing the sessions, Ralph told us: “The band was booked from 7:00 p.m. into the wee hours of the morning. I was given a lead sheet for ‘I Am A Rock’ with just chords and asked to play the electric twelve string guitar. The producer wanted a sound similar to the Byrds. It was important that session players became familiar with the current hits because many times producers describe the style they want by referring to well known groups. Paul Simon sang the figure he wanted me to play between verses and asked me to play it in thirds. The rest was left to me. ‘Homeward Bound’ was on that same date.”

I Am A Rock

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark
December
I am alone
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock
I am an island

Don’t talk of love
But I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion

One of my favorite Paul Simon songs. The lyrics, melody, and the reggae feel make this song a classic. Paul’s songwriting is world class…the structure to his songs are great as well as is his guitar playing. The song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #5 in the UK in 1972.

Simon wrote this in response to the Jimmy Cliff song “Vietnam,” where a mother receives a letter about her son’s death on the battlefield. Simon recorded “Mother and Child Reunion” in Jamaica using Cliff’s musicians, hence the very authentic sound. Simon said of the song that it “became the first reggae hit by a non-Jamaican white guy outside Jamaica.”

From Songfacts

Simon came up with the title after seeing a chicken and egg dish called “Mother and Child Reunion” on the menu at 456 Restaurant in Chinatown, New York. 

This was Simon’s first single as a solo artist.

Paul Simon was ahead of the trend when he released this reggae-infused song: Johnny Nash went to #1 US later in 1972 with “I Can See Clearly Now,” and Eric Clapton topped the chart with “I Shot The Sheriff” (a Bob Marley cover) in 1974.

Mother and Child Reunion

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine

I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine

I just can’t believe it’s so
Though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

But I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
When the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away

Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away

Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away

Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away

Paul Simon – Kodachrome

As a kid, I learned what Kodachrome meant by this song. Paul Simon was working on a song with the title “Coming Home” when the word “Kodachrome” came to him. He had no idea what it meant, but knew it would make for a much more interesting song than “Coming Home.” The song became an appreciation of the things in life that color our world.

Kodachrome is a registered trademark of the Kodak company. It is a method of color transparency, but more commonly known as a type of color film the company started marketing in 1935. The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100 and Canada.

From Songfacts.

This was not a hit in England, partly because UK radio stations rarely played it. The BBC had very strict rules about commercial endorsements, and they would not allow stations to play songs that seemed to push products. It’s the same reason The Kinks had to re-record part of “Lola.” The lyrics were, “We drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola,” But Ray Davies had to redo them as “…Just like cherry cola” so the song could get airplay in Great Britain.

Paul Simon recorded this at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama with the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He sought out the musicians when he found out they played on “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers, and was surprised to learn that they were not Jamaican musicians, but four white guys from the South. Simon went to Muscle Shoals to record just one song: “Take Me To The Mardi Gras,” but when they finished that one much sooner than he expected, he also recorded “Kodachrome” and “Loves Me Like A Rock.” Simon was the first big rock artist to record at the studios – Bob Seger and The Rolling Stones were some of the others who recorded there in the ’70s.

David Hood, the bass player in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, told us this story: “When Paul Simon walked into our studio, he thought, God, what a funky place. Because it was. He was used to working at A&R and Columbia Studios in New York, and studios in England and different places. And when he came and saw our little place, he probably thought, man, this is a rat trap.

It just so happened that the roof leaked in our studio right over the recording console, and as a short term fix, we taped sanitary pads across the ceiling just to absorb the water so it wouldn’t drop down on the recording console. So we had Paul Simon, who’s got hit record after hit record walking in and seeing this place with Kotex on the ceiling. He must have thought, what in the world have I gotten myself into? But we cut this track for him in two takes, and I think he thought, wow, well these guys know what they’re doing. It doesn’t really matter.” (Here’s more on the history of the Muscle Shoals sound.)

Simon sometimes sings the line “Everything looks worse in black and white” as “Everything looks better in black and white.” He changes it a lot, and claims he can’t remember which way he wrote it.

On June 22, 2009, Kodak officially retired Kodachrome color film after 74 years. Photographers had turned to more recent Kodak products and digital technologies, which led to Kodachrome’s decline.

Kodachrome

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they’d never match
My sweet imagination
Everything looks worse in black and white

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Leave your boy so far from home
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

My Favorite Songwriters

This one was the most fun to do. These are the songwriters that I have listened to and admired the most.

 

1… Bob Dylan – There was no one else I could remotely place as number 1.

Related image

2… Lennon – McCartney – As a team…it was quantity and quality. Their music will live long after we are gone.

Image result for lennon and mccartney

3…Chuck Berry – He wrote the blueprint for future rockers.

Image result for chuck berry

4…Jagger – Richards – For blues rock it doesn’t get much better than these two.

Related image

5…Paul Simon – One of the best craftsman of pop songs there is…

Image result for paul simon 1970

6…Bruce Springsteen – One of the best writers of his generation.

Related image

7…Goffin and King – Wrote some of the best known and successful songs of the sixties.

Image result for goffin and king

8…Smokey Robinson – Bob Dylan said of Robinson…”America’s greatest living poet”

Image result for smokey robinson 1975

9…Pete Townshend – Took the “Rock Opera” to new levels.

Related image

10…Hank Williams – The country poet.

Related image

Honorable Mention

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ray Davis, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, Leiber and Stoller, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Robbie Robertson, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Tom Petty, Curtis Mayfield, John Prine, George Harrison, Steve Wonder, Warren Zevon, Brian Wilson