At the Zoo
|"At the Zoo"|
|Single by Simon and Garfunkel|
|from the album Bookends|
|Producer||Simon and Garfunkel
|Simon and Garfunkel singles chronology|
The song is one of Paul Simon's many tributes to his hometown of New York City. The narrative tells the story of a trip to the Central Park Zoo; when the singer reaches the zoo, he anthropomorphizes the animals in various amusing ways, with a resulting cynical eye towards human life. Such statements as "elephants are kindly, but they're dumb," "antelopes are missionaries" and "pigeons plot in secrecy" reflect more about man than they do about the menagerie. The song was licensed in advertisements for the Bronx Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo in the late 1970s.
"At the Zoo" was first released as a single in 1967, reaching #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. After that, it was released on the following albums:
- Bookends (1968)
- The Best of Simon and Garfunkel (1999)
- Tales from New York: The Very Best of Simon & Garfunkel (2000)
The song was also performed live by Simon and Garfunkel in the Old Friends: Live on Stage album in 2004, as part of a medley with "Baby Driver".
An alternate version with almost completely different lyrics is available on the bootleg The Alternate Bookends. These lyrics have nothing to do with a zoo, but rather speak of a musician's girlfriend having changed while he was on the road. The song begins, "Something tells me things have changed since I've been gone"; "Something tells me" is one of the few phrases that is still present in the released version.
In 1991, Paul Simon released a children's book titled At the Zoo (ISBN 0-385-41771-3) which combines the lyrics of the song with the very detailed illustrations of Valerie Michaut. To make this book appropriate for children, Simon made changes and additions, including identifying Rum as a beaver (because the original lyric states that "the zookeeper is very fond of rum") and giving the hamsters headlights (because they "turn on frequently").
|US Billboard Hot 100||16|
- "Simon & Garfunkel : The Alternate Bookends", The Big O, accessed April 7, 2009
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