Paul Simon (album)

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Paul Simon
Studio album by Paul Simon
Released January 24, 1972
Recorded January to March 1971
Genre Folk rock
Length 34:03
Label Columbia, Warner Bros.
Producer Roy Halee, Paul Simon
Paul Simon chronology
The Paul Simon Songbook
(1965)
Paul Simon
(1972)
There Goes Rhymin' Simon
(1973)
Singles from Paul Simon
  1. "Mother and Child Reunion" b/w "Paranoia Blues"
    Released: February 1972
  2. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" b/w "Congratulations"
    Released: May 1972
  3. "Duncan" b/w "Run That Body Down"
    Released: July 1972

Paul Simon is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon as a solo artist. It was released in January 1972, nearly two years after he split up with longtime musical partner Art Garfunkel. The album represented the definitive announcement of the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel.[1] Originally released on Columbia Records, it was then issued under the Warner Bros. label and is now back with Columbia through Sony. It was ranked No. 266 on the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. His first solo album had been recorded in England in 1965 and remained unreleased in the U.S. until 1981, when it appeared in the 5-LP Collected Works boxed set.

History[edit]

After Simon & Garfunkel split in 1970, Simon taught songwriting classes at New York University during the summer of 1971. Among the students he taught were two of the Roche sisters, Maggie and Terre, and singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester who remembers that as a teacher, Simon was nervous. He listened to the students' songs and offered suggestions and criticism, often dissecting the lyrics and drawing comparisons with his own work, while offering autobiographical insights into how his own work progressed and his sources of inspiration.[2]

Simon then traveled to San Francisco to record some demos, and began to work with different musical styles with the purpose of releasing a solo album. Paul Simon was, musically, a direct follow-up from his work with Art Garfunkel. The song writing quality revealed on some of the tunes from the album Bridge over Troubled Water (for example, "The Only Living Boy in New York" or "Song for the Asking") was now extended and combined with a new appreciation for the album as a complete and single work of art. Part of these achievements were due to the experiments with new sounds for Simon, including latin music, jazz, blues, and also reggae, with the song "Mother and Child Reunion" (recorded in Kingston, Jamaica), becoming one of the first attempts on this genre by a white musician. Guest musicians on the record included Stephane Grappelli, Ron Carter, and Airto Moreira.

Lyrically, the album was particularly notable for its inclusion of many autobiographical elements. Several songs on the album make reference directly or indirectly to his rocky marriage to Peggy (née Harper), which ended in divorce in 1975. Troubles with the marriage figure prominently on songs such as "Run That Body Down" (in which both "Paul" and "Peg" are mentioned by name) and "Congratulations". Other themes include drugs and adolescence, especially in urban areas.

The songs "Mother and Child Reunion" and "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard", and Simon's enlistment of Airto Moreira's percussion and the Andean music group Los Incas, prefigure the fascination Simon had with world music, particularly exemplified on Graceland.

The album topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Japan and Norway, and reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums. In 1986, it was certified platinum.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau (A+)[4]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[5]

Despite expressing only restrained approval of Simon and Garfunkel albums in the past, Robert Christgau gave Paul Simon an A+ rating, writing, "[T]his is the only thing in the universe to make me positively happy in the first two weeks of February 1972."[6]

Critical praise was indeed widespread for this album, though some reviewers were put off by it. Noel Coppage, in Stereo Review, called it "undistinguished" and added, "I gather...this album is merely Simon's way of keeping his hand in while Garfunkel makes movies....I'm now wondering if Garfunkel's arranging work doesn't include sending Simon back to rewrite some of his songs before recording them."[7] Despite Coppage's panning, the other Stereo Review critics went on to give the album one of its "Record Of The Year" awards.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul Simon, except "Hobo's Blues" co-written by Stéphane Grappelli.

Side one
  1. "Mother and Child Reunion" – 3:05
  2. "Duncan" – 4:39
  3. "Everything Put Together Falls Apart" – 1:59
  4. "Run That Body Down" – 3:52
  5. "Armistice Day" – 3:55
Side two
  1. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" – 2:42
  2. "Peace Like a River" – 3:20
  3. "Papa Hobo" – 2:34
  4. "Hobo's Blues" – 1:21
  5. "Paranoia Blues" – 2:54
  6. "Congratulations" – 3:42
Additional tracks

In July 2004, the album was re-issued on CD, which contained three included songs:

  1. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71) – 2:29
  2. "Duncan" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71)" – 2:48
  3. "Paranoia Blues" (Unreleased Version) – 3:14

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production and engineering[edit]

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Superseventies review". Superseventies. Retrieved July 24, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Paul Simon – The neck of my guitar". Paul-simon.info. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ Allmusic Review
  4. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  5. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  6. ^ Consumer Guide Robert Christgau Review
  7. ^ STEREO REVIEW, July 1972, Vol. 28, #1, p. 84.
  8. ^ Stereo Review, February 1973, Vol. 30, #2, p. 81.
  9. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.7733&type=1&interval=20&PHPSESSID=lo0152od4caliufjkgh3mkphk6
  11. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Paul Simon – Paul Simon". dutchcharts.nl. MegaCharts. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  13. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1972" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ "21 世紀洋楽元年到来!? 2005年年間洋楽チャート大発表!". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  15. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  16. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  17. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1972-03-25). Billboard – March 25 – 1973. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  18. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  19. ^ Allmusic – Paul Simon > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  20. ^ "Album Search: Paul Simon: Paul Simon" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1972" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ 1970~1974年アルバム年間ヒットチャート "Top-ten of the Japanese Year-End Albums Charts 1970–1974" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  23. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1972". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
"Mizuiro no Koi"/"Namida kara Ashita e" by Mari Amachi
Japanese Oricon LP Chart number-one album
(5 weeks)
Succeeded by
Shoshin wo Wasuremai to Chikatta Hi by Rumiko Koyanagi
Preceded by
Harvest by Neil Young
Norwegian VG-lista number-one album
17-19/1972 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
Harvest by Neil Young
Preceded by
Harvest by Neil Young
UK number-one album
March 18–24, 1972
Succeeded by
Fog on the Tyne by Lindisfarne