The 25th anniversary of the release of Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning album “Graceland” was celebrated in August. The album, which was influenced by Mr. Simon’s travels in South Africa, is being rereleased. To mark the celebration, the List this week looks at some of Mr. Simon’s best songs recorded after he broke up with Art Garfunkel in 1970. It’s an almost impossible task, as Mr. Simon has written so many great tunes.
- 10. American Tune (1973) — A beautiful but somewhat depressing song that has become a concert favorite. The tune appeared on Mr. Simon’s second solo album, “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” and reached No. 35 on the Billboard charts. Written in the Watergate era, the song refers to an America adrift, with the Statue of Liberty “sailing away to sea.”
“We come on the ship they call the Mayflower, We come on the ship that sailed the moon.”
- 9. That’s Where I Belong (2000) — After a decade of experimenting with South African and Brazilian music, plus a Broadway musical, Mr. Simon returned to the simpler days of “One Trick Pony” and “Hearts and Bones” with the album “You’re the One.” This delightful track was one of the best songs on the Grammy-nominated album.
“Somewhere in a burst of glory, Sound becomes a song.”
- 8. Senorita With a Necklace of Tears (2000) — Another fine song from the album “You’re the One,” which was a critical, if not commercial, success. The clever line “If I could play all the memories in the neck of my guitar” is Mr. Simon at his best and is reminiscent of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” from the “Graceland” album.
“There is a frog in South America, Whose venom is a cure, For all the suffering, That mankind must endure.”
- 7. Kodachrome (1973) — The album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” yielded hits “Loves Me Like a Rock” and this track, “Kodachrome,” cementing Mr. Simon’s star credentials. The song, an ode to the vivid memories of youth, also may have been the first product placement on the Billboard hit charts, where it reached No. 2.
“I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph, So, mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.”
- 6. The Boy in the Bubble (1986) — A powerful song from the “Graceland” album. It’s as political as Mr. Simon gets as he ponders terrorism and “a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires” running the world. The video was nominated for two MTV video awards.
“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.”
- 5. Late In the Evening (1980) — This is the most notable track from the album “One Trick Pony.” The song is drenched in salsa and reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts.
“When it’s late in the evening, And the music’s seeping through …”
- 4. Father and Daughter (2006) — The best track from the “Surprise” album. It managed to reach No. 31 in the United Kingdom, becoming Mr. Simon’s only appearance as a solo artist on the British singles charts after 1990. The song was written for the animated “The Wild Thornberrys Movie” and was nominated for an Academy Award.
“If you leap awake in the mirror of a bad dream, And for a fraction of a second, you can’t remember where you are.”
- 3. Peace Like A River (1972) — One of Mr. Simon’s most underrated tunes. This ballad, from his self-titled debut album, includes some amazing guitar work.
“And I remember, Misinformation followed us like a plague, Nobody knew from time to time, If the plans were changed.”
- 2. Hearts and Bones (1983) — This touching love song was the title track on Mr. Simon’s sixth solo album. The tune is about Mr. Simon’s second wife, actress-novelist-screenwriter Carrie Fisher, whom he later divorced. The song includes some gem lyrics.
“One and one-half wandering Jews, Free to wander wherever they choose…”
- 1. Mother And Child Reunion (1972) — Probably the best song from his 1972 debut solo album “Paul Simon,” after his break with Art Garfunkel, and a classic reggae tune. Mr. Simon said he got the name for the song from a chicken-and-egg dish on the menu at a Chinese restaurant. The song is about the death of a family dog. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard Top 40.
“No, I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day…”
The best of the rest: “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover,” “Something So Right,” “Darling Lorraine,” “Take Me to the Mardi Gras,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “Under African Skies,” “Loves Me Like a Rock,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “Graceland,” “Some Folks Lives Roll Easy,” “Think Too Much,” “Train in the Distance,” “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns,” “Duncan and Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War.”
Compiled By John Haydon
Sources: The Washington Times
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