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Monday, 6 June 2011

Paul Simon interview

Following the Graceland-esque style of the melody/lyric in song 20, I just wanted to post a link to a tremendous interview with Paul Simon (thanks to Steve Piggott for putting me on to this):

YouTube Link

It's the first of seven videos, so take the time to go through them.  In the interview, he briefly describes how he got started in the industry, but the bulk is taken up with him talking in great detail about his songwriting process.  I'm delighted to say that it's very similar to how I write songs - though as of yet I haven't written anything as good as Bridge Over Troubled Water.  It's very organic, often starting with a simple chord progression and lyrical phrase, and then seeing what images present themselves.  The song is allowed to grow in its own way, though occasionally it needs a little pruning (if, say, a rhyme/image/chord change comes up that's just too obvious).  I particularly like his comments about keeping the audience interested by avoiding clichés but also making sure they're comfortable and aren't struggling to find, say, a beat they can tap their foot to.

Paul Simon will also be playing the title role in
"The Mel Brooks Story" on Hallmark
There's a lot of Paul Simon's output that's not to everybody's taste - not even to mine - but he really has written some tremendous tracks - Cecilia, Still Crazy After All These Years, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (how many times has Sting ripped the verse of this song off?), You Can Call Me Al, Hazy Shade of Winter...  If you haven't heard the Graceland album yet, you really should check it out - some wonderful melodies, and fascinating lyrics.  Also responsible for some of the worst drum sounds on record, but let's not worry about that.

Before I move away from the Paul Simon thing, I'd just like to point out something on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album cover.

If you cover Paul Simon's face, it looks like Art Garfunkel is sporting an enormous handlebar moustache.  Call me childish, but it never ceases to amuse me.


On the Just The Songs page, for ease of browsing, the song titles are accompanied by an approximate description of their genres .

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