Mother and Child Reunion

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"Mother and Child Reunion"
Single by Paul Simon
from the album Paul Simon
A-side "Mother and Child Reunion"
B-side "Paranoia Blues"
Released February 1972
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded 1971
Genre Soft rock, reggae
Length 3:05
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Roy Halee & Paul Simon
Paul Simon singles chronology
"I Am a Rock"
(1965)
"Mother and Child Reunion"
(1972)
"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
(1972)

"Mother and Child Reunion" is a song by Paul Simon on his album, Paul Simon (1972), his first solo album after Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was released as a single on February 5, 1972, reaching #1 in South Africa and #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 57 song for 1972.[1] It was one of the earliest songs by a white musician to feature prominent elements of reggae.

The song was inspired by Simon's grief over the death of his family's dog[citation needed], while he has said that the title has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish called "Mother and Child Reunion" that Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu. James Benninghof writes that Simon predicts the title event, the "mother and child reunion," while the second verse describes the effect of what happened on "the strange and mournful day," but without making clear what it was.[2]

The song was recorded at Dynamic Sounds Studios at Torrington Bridge in Kingston, Jamaica with singer Jimmy Cliff's backing group. Guitarist Huks ("Hux") Brown and bass guitarist Jackie Jackson were also long-time members of reggae legends Toots & the Maytals. Cissy Houston, mother of singer Whitney Houston, sang background vocals on this song.

Personnel[edit]

  • Lead Vocal: Paul Simon
  • Drums: Winston Grennan
  • Lead guitar: Hux Brown
  • Organ: Neville Hinds
  • Bass guitar: Jackie Jackson
  • EP: Larry Knechtel
  • Percussion: Denzil Laing
  • Rhythm guitar: Wallace Wilson
  • Backup singers: Cissy Houston, Von Eva Sims, Renelle Stafford, Deirdre Tuck

In media[edit]

Alvin and the Chipmunks sang this song in the 1985 animated television special A Chipmunk Reunion when they were on a search for their biological mother.

"Mother and Child Reunion" was featured on The Simpsons 19th season episode "Mona Leaves-a" in which Homer's mother, Mona Simpson, dies, and also on the episode "My Mother the Carjacker" from season 15, during a montage of Mona catching up on Homer's missed childhood.

It was used in the second season episode of The Sopranos, "Do Not Resuscitate".

The song was also used at the end of the fifth episode in Season 1 of HBO's "Enlightened."

Charts[edit]