Paul Simon Playlist

Paul Simon Playlist – Spotify

“The Sound Of Silence”
Album: “The Paul Simon Songbook”

Recorded in London before Simon & Garfunkel’s success, this album was released after said success, because that’s the way the music business works, it’s sleazy. Not that many people bought it, at least not many I knew, but now through the magic of the internet you can listen to it, and it’s fascinating.

You can be fully ready but the marketplace may not be ready for you. The songs were there, maybe they needed better treatments, but imagine you’re Simon, frustrated, having had success as a teenager with Garfunkel as Tom and Jerry and then all you hear is crickets…

You’ve got to persevere.

And you’ve got to be lucky.

“The Sound Of Silence”
Album: “Sounds Of Silence”
Simon & Garfunkel

The hit version, which erupted on AM radio during the 1965 holiday season, we didn’t believe these were their real names, we thought this was a one hit wonder.

And it’s the SOUND of silence, not SOUNDS, just like it’s “Bridge Over Troubled WATER,” not WATERS! Then again, if you’re listening they’re getting paid, they don’t care, but knowing Simon, he probably prays you get it, we took our music seriously back then, every word counted, and to no one in America more than Simon, who taught a course about songwriting at NYU.

“April Come She Will”
Album: “Sounds Of Silence”
Simon & Garfunkel

It just makes you feel good.

In our heads we’re optimistic, we dream, we believe in the possibilities, and listening to this we think we can succeed, but know we may not, but if we don’t, we can just go back to the record and be set free and get inspired once again.

“The Dangling Conversation”
Album: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme”
Simon & Garfunkel

Remember when artists were intelligent and respected? When it was not an honor to be dumb?

bThis was back when they started to discuss lyrics in class. There was a revolution going on, and it all wasn’t in the streets, it all wasn’t about the war, we were expanding our minds, lifting the world on our shoulders, the future was so bright, but the present was pretty good too.

“For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”
Album: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme”
Simon & Garfunkel

John Mendelsohn called “Waterloo Sunset” the most beautiful song in the English language, I disagree, I think it’s this.

“Homeward Bound”
Album: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme”
Simon & Garfunkel

The loneliness was palpable, when the radio was a cornucopia of sounds and emotions, when the goal was to follow your muse and create something different from everything else that would earn you kudos and the ability to continue.

And it was after this that I rode my bike down to Fairfield U. to see Simon & Garfunkel at a festival on the football field where the New York football Giants practiced earlier in the summer. Soupy Sales was the headliner, riding the popularity of “The Mouse,” Simon & Garfunkel were nearly an oldies act, with enough songs to tour, and then came…

“Mrs. Robinson”
Album: “Bookends”
Simon & Garfunkel

You’ve got no idea how big this was, no song today has the equivalent ubiquity, and it was broken by what was seen as a subversive film known as “The Graduate,” we had more questions than answers, but that did not stop us from asking.

Album: “Bookends”
Simon & Garfunkel

“Bookends” has been forgotten, a nearly perfect album far from one-dimensional that made you not only feel good, but think.

Every baby boomer knows the lyrics to this song, because that’s what they used to do, drive, save up their cash and go cross-country, in search of adventure, before you could just sit at home and surf the net.

No one’s looking for America anymore, they’re convinced they’ve found it.

But how wrong they are.

“Fakin’ It”
Album: “Bookends”
Simon & Garfunkel

It starts like it’s ending, and then twists into an adventure, never heard on the radio, you owned the album and knew it by heart, this was when LPs were truly important, when the songs were just not revenue producers, but statements, when fakin’ it was anathema, when authenticity was key.

“Old Friends”
Album: “Bookends”
Simon & Garfunkel

How terribly strange to be seventy

People sing this line to me all the time, I sing it in my head, “When I’m Sixty-Four” is more famous, but it’s this one that resonates, that creeps us out, the Beatles cut is all upbeat, this is sad and reflective, old friends are all that count and soon we’re to be forgotten, I’m watching “The Keepers” on Netflix and when they ask the retired cop who found the body for connections at the police department he says no one there would know him. Whew! It’s gonna happen to ALL OF US!

“The Only Living Boy In New York”
Album: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Simon & Garfunkel

You’re a musician, you think you can cross over to the movies but you can’t. Just ask Sting and Madonna, then again, Ice Cube has done a good job of it, and Ice-T too, so maybe you’ve got to be a rapper with your hits behind you.

Famously written when Garfunkel was off filming “Catch-22,” a book teenagers no longer read, now that “Catcher In The Rye” is banned again, this is from the last Simon & Garfunkel album, which is not as good as “Bookends” but was even more successful.

“Baby Driver”
Album: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Simon & Garfunkel

Whimsy. Like I said, you could evidence different sides of your personality, before you had to do only one thing or you were excoriated.

“Armistice Day”
Album: “Paul Simon”

The last song on the first side of 1972’s solo LP which ended up having hits but got little respect, people still wanted Simon & Garfunkel, yes “Me and Julio” became a cultural staple and Simon was successful with reggae with “Mother and Child Reunion” before Bob Marley had any impact in the United States, but it’s the other cuts that put this LP over the top, it’s like going into Simon’s house, getting into his head, a very personal experience, where chances were taken and there were no limits, the changes and the picking in “Armistice Day” will blow your mind, and it was especially resonant in the winter, when it came out.

Album: “Paul Simon”

A positively creepy story song.

If you’re young and don’t know this, listen to it, use it as inspiration, if you hit peaks this high you too will have a career.

“One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor”
Album: “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”

“There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” is a masterpiece, but it’s not lauded like Nick Drake’s work because it had huge hits, it’s the equal of “Band On The Run,” as good or better than any solo Beatle LP and no one ever talks about it, you don’t see it considered.

This is my favorite cut on the LP, if for no other reason than Barry Beckett’s piano, which breaks your heart before Simon rescues you and makes you feel okay, but not that okay…

“Something So Right”
Album: “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”

When something goes wrong
I’m the first to admit it
The first to admit it
But the last one to know

Blame my mother, who always kept me on my toes, was constantly keeping me from being too big for my britches, I had to go to the shrink to learn how to stop apologizing.

When something goes right
Oh, it’s likely to lose me
It’s apt to confuse me
It’s such an unusual sight
Oh, I can’t, I can’t get used to something so right
Something so right

I can’t believe it, I believe there’s a trick, it’s gonna be taken away from me, it’s not real.

And then it disappears, slips through my grasp, is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“My Little Town”
Simon & Garfunkel

Rumor was they were back.

But they weren’t. Yet we had this hit on each of their solo LPs.

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”
Album: “Still Crazy After All These Years”
Paul Simon

“Kodachrome” burst out of the dashboard and obscured the magic of the album cuts and this album had huge hit singles too, although I must say the rest of the record was not quite as good as “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” but nothing could be.

You just slip out the back Jack

Fascinating how this number could have dark and light in the same song, kinda like a relationship, kinda like thinking about your life, where you are and where you could be

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” have remained part of the conversation, the social fabric, the earlier solo stuff has faded.

“Ace In The Hole”
Album: “One Trick Pony”

We walked to Westwood to see the movie, which I thought was quite good, Simon left Columbia for Warner Brothers for the freedom and the promise of being able to direct, when that was still a goal, before the movies became moribund and everybody had a video camera in their pocket.

“Late In The Evening”
Album: “One Trick Pony”

This was the single, not so successfully so, when you tie your album to a movie you’re in trouble if the movie doesn’t hit, and this one did not.

But, like I said, I dug the movie, when they were driving in the van playing Dead Rock Stars…

“Rene and George Magritte With Their Dog After The War”
Album: “Hearts And Bones”

A complete stiff, that’s what “Hearts And Bones” was, the first time Simon had completely failed, it looked like he was done, and then…

“You Can Call Me Al”
Album: “Graceland”

It wasn’t an immediate hit, it took that video with Chevy Chase to put it over the top, and talk about creativity, it was so simple, proving conception is key, soon video became all about bells and whistles.

Because of MTV, which amplified the hits and tamped down that which was not aired, “Graceland” was bigger than anything Simon did previously, it was an unexpected victory lap, he was a household word, but this was before MTV went all pop and the classic rockers were wiped from the channel, and the map.

“Born At The Right Time”
Album: The Rhythm Of The Saints”

A bit of a cheap shot if you ask me, well, not exactly cheap, but repetitious, weren’t we supposed to get a traditional singer-songwriter album after “Graceland” as opposed to another musing on another musical style?

Album: “Stranger To Stranger”

I know I’m skipping a bunch of albums, but so did everybody else, Simon was making music, but it was not resonating with the public. But “Stranger To Stranger” is closer to the mark. Especially the subject of this song and its catchy chorus. Who else is singing about this stuff?

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