Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkel song)

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This article is about the Simon & Garfunkel song. For the Ace of Base song, see Cecilia (Ace of Base song). For The Vamps featuring Shawn Mendes adaptation, see Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart).
Single by Simon & Garfunkel
from the album Bridge over Troubled Water
B-side "The Only Living Boy in New York"
Released April 1970
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded November 2, 1969
Genre Pop rock, folk rock
Length 2:54
2:38 (7" version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Roy Halee, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkel singles chronology
"Bridge over Troubled Water"
"El Condor Pasa (If I Could)"
Bridge over Troubled Water track listing
"El Condor Pasa (If I Could)"
"Keep The Customer Satisfied"

"Cecilia" is a song written by American musician Paul Simon. It was first recorded by Simon & Garfunkel for their fifth studio album Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). When released as a single, it reached #4 in the US charts. The single did not chart in the UK, despite being released as the follow-up to Simon and Garfunkel's number one hit "Bridge over Troubled Water", and most copies of the UK single misspelled the title as "Cecelia" on the label.

The songwriter suggests that the "Cecilia" of the title refers to St. Cecilia, patron saint of music [1] in the Catholic tradition, and thus the song might refer to the frustration of fleeting inspiration in songwriting, the vagaries of musical fame or in a wider sense the absurdity of pop culture. The song is generally interpreted as a lament over a capricious lover who causes both anguish and jubilation to the singer. St. Cecilia is mentioned in another Paul Simon song, "The Coast" (from his 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints): "A family of musicians took shelter for the night in the little harbor church of St. Cecilia."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1970)[2] Peak
Australian Singles Chart 6
Austrian Top 40 6
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 3
Canadian Singles Chart[3] 2
Dutch Top 40 1
German Singles Chart 2
Spanish Singles Chart[4] 2
Swiss Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 4

Suggs version[edit]

Single by Suggs featuring Louchie Lou & Michie One
from the album The Lone Ranger
Released 15 April 1996
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1995
Genre Pop, reggae fusion
Length 3:08
Label WEA
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Sly & Robbie
Suggs chronology
"The Tune"
"No More Alcohol"

In 1995, Suggs (the lead singer of UK pop band Madness) covered the song. The Suggs version featured the ragga duo, Louchie Lou & Michie One.

The track appeared on his debut solo album The Lone Ranger, it became his most successful single, reaching #4 in the UK, and selling more than 500,000 copies.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1970, a cover version was released in 1970 by UK group Harmony Grass, which did not chart. French-speaking American musician Joe Dassin sang a French version of this song in 1970, while in February 1971, a version was released in England by the New Wave Band (a group that comprised three members of the band that would soon become 10cc) and Herman's Hermits guitarist Derek Leckenby. It did not chart.
  • In 1971, a cover version was recorded by the Serbian and former Yugoslav acoustic music duo Vlada i Bajka.[6]
  • In 1971, a cover version was released by Motown's Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' album One Dozen Roses.
  • In 1988, a cover version by California-based dance duo Times Two was released, peaking at #79 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1988.[7]
  • In 1993, the British version of the ABBA tribute performers Björn Again recorded a cover for their album Flashback.
  • In 2009, guitarist Jesse Cook did a cover version of the song on his album, The Rumba Foundation. It featured Jeremy Fisher on vocals.
  • In 2009, Indie rock band Local Natives covered the song.[8]
  • In 2010, the song was covered on Gaelic Storm's album Cabbage, which was released on August of that year.[9]
  • In 2014, the song's chorus was sampled by The Vamps for their fifth single "Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart)".

Live cover performances[edit]

The song was performed on April 6, 2011 on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon by Simon accompanied by Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Stomp.

This song was performed live in 2012 by Singer Songwriter male vocalist Imaginary Friend aka Jessie Epstien[disambiguation needed], the opening act for Kina Grannis on her European, American and World Tours.

References in other songs[edit]

  • In 1998, Swedish pop band Ace of Base released a Europop track titled "Cecilia" from their album Flowers, which continues the story of the Paul Simon's character. Jenny Berggren, lead vocalist for the band, sings, "This is a song about a well-known girl", then tells of Cecilia's continuous bouncing back and forth between lovers.


  1. ^ "The Harmony Game", bonus documentary on Bridge Over Troubled Water 40th Anniversary CD & DVD package (Columbia/Legacy)
  2. ^ Steffen Hung. "Simon & Garfunkel - Cecilia". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  4. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  5. ^ Suggs interview at Question of Pop, BBC
  6. ^ "Vlada I Bajka - Cecilia / Zvuk Tišine (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  7. ^ Cooper, William. "X2 - Times Two : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Local Natives: Daytrotter Session recorded Jul 29, 2009". Daytrotter.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  9. ^ "Music". Gaelic Storm. Retrieved 2012-01-05.