Paul Simon > America's Greatest Living Composer



*** update 9.26.14

It's time to appreciate Paul Simon with everything I've got in my quiver. Really, I shouldn't even need all those caveats up there. In fact, you could pull any one of those words out and still have the effect I am going for. I threw 'America' in there because Paul McCartney is so good that an argument could be made for him. In a songwriting death match between the two, I would still take Simon. Why?


Paul Simon has been producing phenomenal music for over 40 years. 40 fuckin' years, man! Some might say he best music was done before I was born (1972), yet... look at Graceland. I was just watching a side by side DVD session today of 'Live in Central Park' (1981) and 'Old Friends' (2004). The setlist is nearly the same, as you can imagine. Now, while Artie can no longer hit those highs, I swear to you Paul Simon sings better than he did in 1981. Also, remember that video for 'Call me Al' he did with Chevy Chase? I submit that is the most clever and best use of video since Thriller. His accomplishments are way too many to cover, but we should mention he bagged Princess Leia and did SNL with George Harrison. Then, that crafty old bastard stole away my teen crush Edie Brickell. Simon has my love and respect in spades. I even forgive him for that mustache.


I can not think of a single individual more influential than Paul Simon on the musical landscape... or my personal history. His music is thoughtful, catchy, enduring, and cheerfully morose. While beautiful everyone, a closer look at the lyrics is stifling sad. Somehow, he and Artie take that New York feel and make it America's music. Not a cliche, Paul Simon is America's music. Let's not forget he brought us our first taste of African Music with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Yeah yeah yeah, you'll say Peter Gabriel did too. However, Simon made it good, and that makes a difference.


Growing up playing guitar, I learned my riffs from Jimmy Page and my rhythm from Paul Simon. God bless you, indeed, Mrs. Roosevelt.

*** update 9.26.14

Paul was on Conan last night (9.25.14) to celebrate 'George Harrison week'.  Here is the clip, because it is amazing.

Comments

Anonymous said…
next to bob dylan he is a dwarf
Chris Nixon said…
I dig Paul Simon. He's a giant when it comes to lyrics, for sure. He's written some devastating songs. Graceland is a massive achievement (though I wouldn't say his video with Chevy Chase was a career-high for him. It kind of reminded me of the "Don't Worry Be Happy" video by Bobby McFerrin: Assemble stars, give them props and proceed to make a really boring video.) He's definitely top tier for American lyricists. I would also submit Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Jeff Tweedy, Duke Ellington, Tom Waits, and of course, Bob Dylan (as "Anonymous" mentioned). I know there are more, I just haven't had coffee yet today. Outside the U.S., I would add Elvis Costello, David Gilmour/Roger Waters, Thom Yorke/Radiohead... But point taken: Paul Simon is great and probably underappreciated, especially by whipper snappers under 30.
Eric said…
I love Paul Simon, but "Call Me Al" is "the most clever and best use of video since Thriller"? Great video- but what about Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More"??

S&G's "America" and "The Boxer" are still some of my favorite songs of all time. :)
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