Paul Simon, one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century, is celebrating his 80th birthday today. The Newark, NJ-born musician spent his formative years growing up in Flushing, Queens. During elementary school, Simon met Art Garfunkel, with the duo eventually going on to form Simon & Garfunkel, and write hit folk tunes such as “The Sound of Silence”, “The Boxer”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and “Mrs. Robinson”.
Following Simon & Garfunkel’s initial breakup in 1970, Simon’s official solo career began with his eponymous album Paul Simon in 1972, which featured “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” and the reggae-infused “Mother And Child Reunion”. Perhaps his best-known solo album, 1986’s Graceland, saw Simon take a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, to record with a number of African musicians in various musical stylings, including zydeco, mbaqanga, pop, and isicathamiya. What came out of those sessions back in the U.S. was Graceland, which went on to win a Grammy for “Album of the Year” in 1987 with “Under African Skies”, “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes”, and the title track, among others.
Simon hasn’t let up much in his later years, touring with Bob Dylan, reuniting with Art Garfunkel several times, and releasing a number of new albums, including 2000’s You’re The One, the 2006 collaborative album Surprise with super-producer Brian Eno, 2011’s So Beautiful Or So What, and his most recent release in 2018, In The Blue Light. With over 60 years of songwriting under his belt, to describe Paul Simon as prolific is almost an understatement. Let’s take a look at some songs from his storied career as we celebrate his 80th birthday today:
Paul Simon – “You Can Call Me Al”
Paul Simon – “Late In The Evening”
Paul Simon – “Under African Skies”
[Video: Paul Simon – Topic]
Paul Simon – “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”
[Originally published 10/13/17]