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 his 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 set list 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 can not think of a single individual more influential on the musical landscape, or my personal history, than Paul Simon. His music is thoughtful, catchy, enduring, and cheerfully morose. His lyrics, while beautiful upon a closer look are stifling sad. Somehow, he and Artie take that New York feel and make it America's music. It's not a cliche to say that Paul Simon's music 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. Robinson. I'll leave you with one of my favorite verses, which only exists on the live version of "The Boxer". I think it says it all perfectly.
Powered by Sidelines
"Now the years are rolling by me, they are rocking evenly
and I am older than I once was, but younger than I'll that's not unusual
Though it isn't strange, after changes upon changes we are more or less the same
After changes, we are more or less the same."