Paul Simon

It wasn’t surprising that Paul Simon launched a successful solo career after leaving Simon and Garfunkel, given that he wrote all of the group’s original material. There’s definitely a school of thought that enjoys Simon and Garfunkel but dislikes Simon’s solo career, a mindset that I don’t share – mostly Simon’s solo career is a natural continuation of his work with the duo. For instance, a lot of the material from 1973’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon would work as a followup to Bridge Over Troubled Water.

While he started in the folk movement, Simon’s picked up musical styles from all over the world, incorporating them into his music. He’s never really stopped exploring new sonic territory, and his most recent solo album, released at the age of 74, assimilates influences from Harry Partch.

Simon released an excellent pair of solo albums early in the 1970s, then drifted a little. He got back on track artistically with the inconsistent but often excellent Hearts and Bones (1983), while 1986’s Graceland was an unexpected commercial revival. At this point, I’ve only covered up until 1990’s Rhythm of the Saints. While his next album, 1997’s Songs from the Capeman was a career low point, what I’ve heard from his 21st century output has been surprisingly solid, and I’ll cover it sometime. His conversational style has aged gracefully, and he’s released an album only about every five years, so generally his late catalogue is well-crafted and consistent.

Ten Favourite Paul Simon Songs

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War
American Tune
Peace Like A River
Mother and Child Reunion
Train in the Distance
Something So Right
Under African Skies
Spirit Voices
Wartime Prayers