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.