Kodachrome (song)

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"Kodachrome"
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
Length 3:32
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Paul Simon, Phil Ramone
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Duncan"
(1972)
"Kodachrome"
(1973)
"Loves Me Like a Rock"
(1973)

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

Description[edit]

The song is named after the Kodak 35mm film Kodachrome. After a review in Billboard's May 12 issue praising its "cheerfully antisocial lyrics," the song debuted at #82 in the Hot 100 on the week-ending May 19, 1973.[1] 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;[2] two weeks later it peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100[3] as well as the Billboard adult contemporary chart.[4] In the Great Britain, the song was marketed as the B-side to "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (CBS 1578);[5] according to American Top 40 host Casey Kasem, this happened because the British Broadcasting Corporation would not play the trademarked name.[citation needed] The song was also banned by the Federation of (Australian) Radio Broadcasters.[6]

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." While it might be easy to read into the change in lyrics, Simon said, "I can't remember which way I originally wrote it -- 'better' or 'worse' -- but I always change it....'Kodachrome' was a song that was originally called 'Goin' Home.'"[7]

Musicians[edit]

The musicians on this session were the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.[8]

Development[edit]

In an interview conducted in November 2008, Simon 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.[9] 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).

Charts[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
Position
Australian Singles Chart 20
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Singles Chart 15
French Singles Chart 8
Spanish Singles Chart[10] 17
US Hot 100 Singles Chart 2

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 85 (38): 68. May 19, 1973. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 85 (42): 88. June 16, 1973. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  4. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
  5. ^ See label photos at 45cat.com
  6. ^ Billboard (Billboard Publications), July 7, 1973, page 53.
  7. ^ "Still Creative After All These Years," interview with Daniel J. Levitin, Grammy magazine, Winter, 1997.
  8. ^ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1216
  9. ^ Paul Simon on "One on One" with Katherine Lanpher Thursday, November 13, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble
  10. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.