Kodachrome (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Single by Paul Simon
from the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon
A-side "Kodachrome"
B-side "Tenderness"
Released 1973
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded Late 1972
Genre Pop rock, Adult contemporary
Length 3:32
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Paul Simon, Phil Ramone
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Loves Me Like a Rock"

"Kodachrome" is a song written and recorded by Paul Simon. It appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin' Simon.


The song is named after the Kodak 35mm film Kodachrome. For the week-ending May 19, 1973, "Kodachrome" bowed at #82 on Hot 100.[which?] Four weeks later, the song moved to #9, sandwiched ahead of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando and behind May 19, 1973, Hot 100 top debut (#59) "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" by George Harrison.[1] two weeks later peaking at #2 on the Hot 100[2] as well as the Billboard adult contemporary chart,[3] but it was not released as a single in Great Britain because, according to American Top 40 host Casey Kasem, the British Broadcasting Corporation would not play the trademarked name.[citation needed]

The chorus, "Mama don't take my Kodachrome ...", is a loose adaptation of a line from the traditional "Mama Don't Allow".[citation needed]

Eastman Kodak Company required the album to note that Kodachrome is a trademark of Kodak and to include the registered trademark symbol (®) after the song's title.[citation needed] The 2012 release Paul Simon Live In New York City, which includes a live performance of "Kodachrome", does not include the symbol or the trademark statement.[citation needed]

In the late 1990s, Kodak used the song in commercials to sell film.[citation needed]

The lyrics to this song on There Goes Rhymin' Simon differed in wording from those on the The Concert in Central Park (1982) and Paul Simon's Concert in the Park, August 15, 1991 albums. The former said, "...everything looks worse in black and white," but the latter said, "...everything looks better in black and white."


The musicians on this session were the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.[4]


In an interview conducted in November 2008, Paul said that what he had in mind when writing the song was to call it "Going Home". However, finding this would have been "too conventional", he came up with "Kodachrome", because of its similar sound and larger innovative potential. He also refers to its first line as the "most interesting" part of the song.[5] The first line runs, "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Some radio stations banned the song because it uses the word "crap".[citation needed]

The song was featured in the films Coneheads (1993) and Cops & Robbersons (1994).


Chart (1973) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 20
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Singles Chart 15
French Singles Chart 8
Spanish Singles Chart[6] 17
US Hot 100 Singles Chart 2


  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 85 (42): 88. June 16, 1973. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
  4. ^ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1216
  5. ^ Paul Simon on "One on One" with Katherine Lanpher Thursday, November 13, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble
  6. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.