Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Simon

Hey hey!

Any of you comrades familiar with Paul Simon? It's his 70th birthday today! I've never met him, but would like to sincerely thank him for all of the music he's brought to this world. I first heard him one bright sunny day. I've probably told the story before, but here it goes again.

See, my dad taught me about classical music. I've had a lifelong appreciation for the art form thanks to my pop.

Now my mom, while always supportive of the classical music, really deserves credit for opening my eyes to the poetry of lyrics. Fitting, as she's a poet herself:
And Paul Simon plays an integral part in this story.

So, back to this bright sunny dad in the 90's. I think I was ten or eleven years old, and mom, with her classic German tendencies, must have said to herself "we must get a CD player now, ja!" The next thing I knew, she walked in the front door with an Aiwa 3-disc stereo system under her arm, and a Simon and Garfunkle greatest hits CD. I think there was only that, and a Beethoven album in the house, so one of the spaces sat empty in the changer. This was before the days of a thousand CD's!

She set up the stereo, and the sounds of Mrs. Robinson soon filled the living room. Those plastic speakers sure seemed magical! I remember sitting around with my brothers, with mom leading the discussion of the symbolism of tracks like The Sounds of Silence. Simon and Garfunkle sure had a way with words, and I was quite impressed. I remember being vaguely inspired to try to learn guitar, but that would happen a few years later when I saw how electric guitars could rock the house. I remember the lyrics most clearly, and sitting around on that bright, sunny day in the living room, talking about what the songs meant.

A few years later, as I've mentioned before, I was listening to the tune Old Friends as a friend of the family lay dying in the hospital. That song defined that experience for me, and one of the lyrics goes "How terribly strange to be 70." It's wild that Paul turns exactly that age today. Check out this cut off the album Bookends:

Notice the album art, too. Here's my photoshop project for the day:

So, thanks mom, for introducing me to lyrics, and thanks, Mr. Simon, for writing them!

Happy Birthday!

- Josh

1 comment:

Sorrow said...

since you are sharing funny stories, allow me...
I had no idea who Paul Simon was when I was a kid. It wasn't until my late teens when my baby brother brought home an album of his.
He listened to it,I listened to it.. I thought it was pretty groovy..
He then took it off the turn table and smashed it to bits.
I yelled " why did you do that???"
he looked at me and said " That little jerk married Princess Leia and he can't even sing!"
and that was my introduction to Paul Simon.