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Paul Simon

Teleking

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,154
Really surprised he's not considered in the same league as Lennon/McCartney and Brian Wilson. While he didn't take as many "chances" as the Beatles, I think he's written as much quality material as either singularly.

As a vocalist, I can tell you I can sing either Lennon or McCartney MUCH easier than try to tackle most Simon tunes.

He's essentially Brian Wilson. Had another great vocalist, but he essentially wrote it all.

And for production value, man, the recordings can compete with some of the best stuff today. I was just listening to "the Only Living Boy in New York" loud and it was so masterfully recorded. Wow, it's truly beautiful.

I've always been a big fan, and it surprises me he's not considered in the same league by most.

I thought the best thing about the recent RNR HOF concert was how he and Artie DESTROYED anyone who came on before and after. It wasn't even close. Their version of Bridge Over Troubled Water was jaw-dropping, and Artie still wasn't in top form, but wow, it was still one of the greatest live performances I've ever seen anyone do, period.

You dig Simon?
 

chrisr777

Member
Messages
24,985
Back in the mid to late 60's Simon and Garfunkel were called America's answer to the Beatles. They also won several Grammy awards.

On a side note, my first date with my wife was to see Simon and Garfunkel.

And one of the thrills of my musical life. We had tickets to see him at the House of Blues on Sunset. We had dinner before the show which was served on a balcony in the show room. We were the only ones there at the time except for a few people he knew down on the floor. While we were eating the band came out for their soundcheck. We got to watch him do five songs as an almost private performance. Including an electric and very spacey version of Bridge Over Troubled Water.
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,767
What do you mean? He is absolutely in the pantheon of greats: Lennon/McCartney, Cohen, Dylan, Newman.
 

Teleking

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,154
What do you mean? He is absolutely in the pantheon of greats: Lennon/McCartney, Cohen, Dylan, Newman.
Maybe to you and I, but not to the general public and even a lot of musicians. Hardly at all.

He's not Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen to the general public. I, personally, think he's in the same league as both.
 

donbarzini

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,195
one trick pony was a great film, had a great soundtrack and displayed a bodacious pair of hogans in the tub scene....
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,767
Maybe to you and I, but not to the general public and even a lot of musicians. Hardly at all.

He's not Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen to the general public. I, personally, think he's in the same league as both.

The general public knew who Paul Simon was when he was in his prime and then two decades after--he was a household name. He's had a great career. I'd say that Paul is a notch above Bruce Springsteen, at the very least. He's been in the business more than 50 years. Much more success in songwriting than anyone on the list, except Paul/John and Dylan.
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
He is as good as it gets, consistently so, through many phases, in nearly every way. His latest album is a masterwork. Brilliant, brilliant man. I heard the BOTW album in '69, listened to it all night long, and was never the same.
 

RockinRob

Member
Messages
1,026
i cant speak for the general populace, but everyone i knew in music circles always considered Simon amongst the best song writers ever. Personally, i think he is THE best.
 

Teleking

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,154
But what age are you? Are you 45 or younger? Which is what at least half the population is?

I think many in his generation feel this way, but not many outside of his generation, while many outside recognize Lennon/McCartney and Dylan as such.
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,767
But what age are you? Are you 45 or younger? Which is what at least half the population is?

I think many in his generation feel this way, but not many outside of his generation, while many outside recognize Lennon/McCartney and Dylan as such.

There can only be so many legends. Let's face it, outside of his songwriting, he's really not that interesting. I think he'll take it!
 

Matt Sarad

Member
Messages
999
FWIW


Yeah, and if there’s even a shred of truth to this Simon story the Lobos is telling about the Graceland sessions, then Paul really is the world’s greatest dong. But first, the happy good times: David Byrne joined Paul Simon for one night of his month-long BAM residency last week. The video has surfaced, and as promised, we are sharing. So without further ado, here’s David (although you can call him Al, RIMSHOT):



Next up is “I Know What I Know” which clearly Byrne was born to perform.



Sounds so good, it’s almost like David wrote it! Which is an even less funny joke than it first appeared to be when you hear Los Lobos lay bare the sordid details of their days in the studio with Paul during the Graceland sessions. That Paul stole from many of the African musicians who worked on the album — and later gave them songwriting credits — is well known; that he stole “Myth Of The Fingerprints” from Los Lobos, not so much. Here LL’s Steve Berlin shares his side of the story with Jambase:

JAMBASE: Speaking of doing a lot of different records and working with a lot of amazing songwriters, I own a ton of the records that you’ve done over the years. One, in particular, I’d like to ask you about is Paul Simon’s Graceland. I obsessed over that thing when I was young. Do you have any recollections of working on it?

STEVE BERLIN: Oh, I have plenty of recollections of working on that one. I don’t know if you heard the stories, but it was not a pleasant deal for us. I mean he [Simon] quite literally — and in no way do I exaggerate when I say — he stole the songs from us….

And you know, going into it, I had an enormous amount of respect for the guy. The early records were amazing, I loved his solo records, and I truly thought he was one of the greatest gifts to American music that there was.

At the time, we were high on the musical food chain. Paul had just come off One Trick Pony and was kind of floundering. People forget, before Graceland, he was viewed as a colossal failure. He was low. So when we were approached to do it, I was a way bigger fan than anybody else in the band. We got approached by Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin who ran our record company [Warner Bros.], and this is the way these guys would talk — “It would mean a lot to the family if you guys would do this for us.” And we thought, “Ok well, it’s for the family, so we’ll do it.” It sounds so unbelievably naïve and ridiculous that that would be enough of a reason to go to the studio with him.

We go into the studio, and he had quite literally nothing. I mean, he had no ideas, no concepts, and said, “Well, let’s just jam.” We said, “We don’t really do that.” … Not by accident, not even at soundcheck. We would always just play a song.

… Paul was a very strange guy. Paul’s engineer was even stranger than Paul, and he just seemed to have no clue — no focus, no design, no real nothing. He had just done a few of the African songs that hadn’t become songs yet. Those were literally jams. Or what the world came to know and I don’t think really got exposed enough, is that those are actually songs by a lot of those artists that he just approved of. So that’s kind of what he was doing. It was very patrician, material sort of viewpoint. Like, because I’m gonna put my stamp on it, they’re now my songs. But that’s literally how he approached this stuff.

I remember he played me the one he did by John Hart, and I know John Hart, the last song on the record. He goes, “Yeah, I did this in Louisiana with this zy decko guy.” And he kept saying it over and over. And I remember having to tell him, “Paul, it’s pronounced zydeco. It’s not zy decko, it’s zydeco.” I mean that’s how incredibly dilettante he was about this stuff. The guy was clueless.

It was ridiculous. I think David starts playing “The Myth of the Fingerprints,” or whatever he ended up calling it. That was one of our songs. That year, that was a song we started working on By Light of The Moon. So that was like an existing Lobos sketch of an idea that we had already started doing. I don’t think there were any recordings of it, but we had messed around with it. We knew we were gonna do it. It was gonna turn into a song. Paul goes, “Hey, what’s that?” We start playing what we have of it, and it is exactly what you hear on the record. So we’re like, “Oh, ok. We’ll share this song.”

JAMBASE: Good way to get out of the studio, though…

STEVE BERLIN: Yeah. But it was very clear to us, at the moment, we’re thinking he’s doing one of our songs. It would be like if he did “Will the Wolf Survive?” Literally. A few months later, the record comes out and says “Words and Music by Paul Simon.” We were like, “What the **** is this?”

We tried calling him, and we can’t find him. Weeks go by and our managers can’t find him. We finally track him down and ask him about our song, and he goes, “Sue me. See what happens.”

JAMBASE: What?! Come on…

STEVE BERLIN: That’s what he said. He said, “You don’t like it? Sue me. You’ll see what happens.” We were floored. We had no idea. The record comes out, and he’s a big hit. Retroactively, he had to give songwriting credit to all the African guys he stole from that were working on it and everyone seemed to forget. But that’s the kind of person he is. He’s the world’s biggest prick, basically.

So we go back to Lenny and say, “Hey listen, you stuck us in the studio with this ****ing idiot for two days. We tried to get out of it, you made us stay in there, and then he steals our song?! What the hell?!” And Lenny’s always a politician. He made us forget about it long enough that it went away. But to this day, I do not believe we have gotten paid for it. We certainly didn’t get songwriting credit for it. And it remains an enormous bone that sticks in our craw. Had he even given us a millionth of what the song and the record became, I think we would have been – if nothing else – much richer, but much happier about the whole thing.

JAMBASE: Have you guys seen him since then?

STEVE BERLIN: No. Never run into him. I’ll tell you, if the guys ever did run into him, I wouldn’t want to be him, that’s for sure.

He goes on to talk some more fightin’ words and then adds, among other things, “That’s our version of it. I’d love to hear Paul’s version of it.” Yeah, we’d love to hear Paul’s version of it, too. Paul?
 

gibson3798

Member
Messages
1,348
Paul Simon is hugely talented but he's not even in the same league as Lennon/McCartney. He was tapped out when he reinvented himself with the African "period". People were very much over him at that point as his record sales would prove. And that's about where he stayed, irrelevant and out of touch with where music was heading.
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,767
Paul Simon is hugely talented but he's not even in the same league as Lennon/McCartney. He was tapped out when he reinvented himself with the African "period". People were very much over him at that point as his record sales would prove. And that's about where he stayed, irrelevant and out of touch with where music was heading.

Irrelevant and out of touch with where music was heading? He had his own ship to steer, why would he care where everyone else was heading? Which artist can you think of with a 50 year career who hasn't experienced ebb and flow? It happened to Dylan, it happened to Newman, and it may have happened to Lennon, too. McCartney? Has he always had his pulse on "where music was heading"?

The Los Lobos/Simon story is a painful one that affected my feelings toward Simon for a long time. In time, I've learned, especially since I don't know the whole truth, to forgive him, in spite of those unfortunate incidents, and enjoy his music for the brilliance that it is.
 

telelion

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,828
Exactly Neer. Where music is heading? The great ones don't follow the trends. That's the worst thing an artist can do IMO.

I don't think there has been a truly "great" one in a long time in the Mt. Rushmore category with a timeless body of work such as a Paul Simon, Lennon/McCartney, Dylan, Newman, Robertson, Taylor, Joel, Becker/Fagan, Brooker/Reid(Procol), Sting, Elton/Taupin, name your favorites. The great songwriter/craftsmen category is not alive and well as it takes success and nurturing to have a career and develop a body of work which Paul surely has done. Paul Simon is regarded as a national treasure and I will always listen to his latest work though I don't expect it to sell all that much in today's world. He is 72 years old.
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,767
Exactly Neer. Where music is heading? The great ones don't follow the trends. That's the worst thing an artist can do IMO.

I don't think there has been a truly "great" one in a long time in the Mt. Rushmore category with a timeless body of work such as a Paul Simon, Lennon/McCartney, Dylan, Newman, Robertson, Taylor, Joel, Becker/Fagan, Brooker/Reid(Procol), Sting, Elton/Taupin, name your favorites. The great songwriter/craftsmen category is not alive and well as it takes success and nurturing to have a career and develop a body of work which Paul surely has done. Paul Simon is regarded as a national treasure and I will always listen to his latest work though I don't expect it to sell all that much in today's world. He is 72 years old.

There is one, and his name is Joe Henry. Oh, and Tom Waits.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,704
Wait....how do you steal from a musician and then give them credit? Doesn't that mean you didn't steal from them?



I have heard Paul's version of it, and I'm nobody special here. I can't imagine they haven't.

Since I know neither Simon nor the Lobos personally, I have no stake in acting as judge and jury for either, and since neither has taken it to court - which both are well within their rights to do, even now - I'd say there's no real issue here.
Well, if I were to take something from someone and profit greatly from it, and then only under duress give them it, or only some of it back, that qualifies as "stealing".

I'd also be interested in hearing Paul's version of the Los Lobos session. Do you have a link to it somewhere?
 

gmann

Member
Messages
8,866
Well, if I were to take something from someone and profit greatly from it, and then only under duress give them it, or only some of it back, that qualifies as "stealing".

I'd also be interested in hearing Paul's version of the Los Lobos session. Do you have a link to it somewhere?
Exactly. Not unlike Zeppelin and the blues guys they stole fm. I don't think they ever gave them credit but they did have to give them money.
 




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