Paul Frederic Simon was born on the 13th of October in 1941 to parents Louis and Belle Simon. He grew up in New York City (one of the best places on the earth in my humble opinion). Music was always a large part of Paul’s life, but it wasn’t unitl he was eleven years old that his musical aspirations seemed a potential reality. Paul met Art Garfunkel in a sixth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland. The two became fast friends and began singing together when they were both thirteen. Paul wrote what would be their first song at that age (fun fact- The original sheet music of the song now resides in the Library of Congress).
SIMON & GARFUNKEL
I don’t think I am ever as moved as when I listen to large groups perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water. ” That song hits me hard each time I listen to it.
Simon & Garfunkel were a duo that was brought together by heavenly designed. Their harmony is unmatched. They have a platonic chemistry that cannot be emulated. Of all famous musical duos, these two take the cake for me. Their voices compliment one another so well. Their skills as musicians were incredible and the lyrics that they produced hit home so easily.
Unfortunately for us, the duo split in 1970. They have reunited occasionally for big concerts and events, but have no plans to put out another collaborative project in the future.
PAUL’S SOLO CAREER
In addition to his musical success with partner Art Garfunkel, Paul has cultivated an incredibly successful solo career. Some of his more noteable solo works are “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “You Can Call Me Al.” “The Obvious Child,” and “Graceland.” He actually wrote music for a Broadway musical called Capeland that grossed over 11 million dollars in its run during the late 1990’s. Paul is an incredible songwriter. He continues to tour today.
WHY I ADMIRE PAUL SIMON
First and foremost, I admire Paul for his skill at lyricism. His lyrics (both from his solo and duo careers) rank among my all-time favorites. To name a few:
“She moved so easily all I could think of was sunlight.”
“Sail on silver girl, sail on by- your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine.”
“Hear my words that I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you.”
Simon does a great job with imagery in his lyrics. It is always incredibly easy to mentally watch the stories behind his ballads and songs play out. He has spoken many times about how much he values his ability to lyricize. In fact, he has gotten into a few binds because he has accused other musicians of not having songs that MEAN anything (which, come on y’all- he isn’t wrong).
Another thing I admire about Simon is that he knew when to walk away. I wasn’t around when he and Garfunkel split up, (not even close) yet I imagine that there was heavy skepticism from the public. While it is nearly tragic to have such a duo split up, I believe that we have to trust the decisions made by the duo. From my research, I have gathered that the split was fairly civil. They simply wanted to go in different directions and that is o k a y. We have to respect artists’ decisions when it comes to those things. It’s like romantic relationships. I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of nasty break-ups; however, I am sure that we have experienced the occasional “civil” break-up where we end on respectable terms with someone else (notice I said civil- NOT easy). Sometimes great things can turn sour. Look at Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham- in theory, they are PERFECT for each other. However, something went awry and before we knew it, “Go Your Own Way” and “Dreams” were made available to audiences in order that we may actively participate in the demise of their relationship. I admire Paul Simon (and Art, too) for the courage that it must have taken to terminate their duo. I imagine it was no easy task for them, especially considering that they started collaborating at the mere age of eleven. What a testament this is to having the knowledge and gumption to walk away from something when the time comes.
What happens when the “time” comes, you might ask?
I think you just know. I think something inside of you clicks. You might wake up one morning and feel radically different towards something or someone and that’s okay. You have to trust your gut feeling when something like that happens because if there is ANYTHING I’ve learned in my mere eighteen years of existence on this rotating ball of rock, it’s that we don’t “feel” on accident. It may seem random and out-of-place, but I assure you it originates somewhere and you should trust that. Trust your gut.
Am I sorry for that aside? Not at all, but to get back to the musical genius that is Paul Simon, I will just express my admiration one more time. His lyrics are moving and his music will make you feel like riding around with all of your windows down during the last warm days of fall and the first ones of spring.
I hope that your Monday did not feel too Mondayish! Love and light!