Over the course of my lifetime, I have been a huge fan of both Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen for both their incredible music and their insightful, powerful poetry. Yet, there’s one musical giant, prominent since the 60s who remains one of the best songwriters of all time: Paul Simon.
Though his music is usually more lighthearted in comparison to Dylan’s and Cohen’s songs (with a few exceptions like The Sound of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water), his lyrics still maintain various surfaces of meaning that require careful listening and contemplation in order to grasp their full depth of meaning. Some of his more upbeat, lighthearted songs such as “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “You Can Call Me Al” which consist of random, confusing lyrics, are still incredibly poetic, and are landmarks in American popular culture.
In 2016, Paul Simon had a book published, titled Lyrics: 1964-2016. It is an easy-to-read layout of all of Paul Simon’s songs and poetry, from his first album in 1964, to his album released in 2016, Stranger to Stranger.
The book begins with a foreword by the American painter Chuck Close. For the many decades of his professional life as an artist, he claimed that every painting he has created has been painted with Simon’s music playing in the background. The book is then devised into eight chapters, with classic black and white photos of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and of his original hand written lyrics of some of his most iconic songs, such as “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” “Kodachrome,” “Loves Me Like a Rock,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Slip Sliding Away,” “Boy in the Bubble,” “Graceland,” and many more.
Image Via Rollingstone
If you are a lifelong fan of Paul Simon, or somebody looking to introduce themselves to the world of his profound writing too, this book is a must-have.
Featured Image Via The New York Review of Books