50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

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"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"
PS 50 Ways.jpg
Single by Paul Simon
from the album Still Crazy After All These Years
B-side "Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy"
Released December 1975
Format 7"
Length 3:35
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Gone at Last"
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"
"Still Crazy After All These Years"

"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the second single from his fourth studio album, Still Crazy After All These Years (1975), released on Columbia Records. Backing vocals on the single were performed by Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson, and Phoebe Snow.[1] The song features a recognizable repeated drum riff performed by drummer Steve Gadd.

One of his most popular singles, "50 Ways" was released in December 1975 and began to see chart success within the new year. It became Simon's sole number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and was his highest position in France, where it peaked at number two. Elsewhere, the song was a top 20 hit in Canada and New Zealand. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting sales of over one million copies.


Written after Simon's divorce from first wife Peggy Harper, the song is a mistress's humorous advice to a husband on ways to end a relationship. The song was recorded in a small New York City studio on Broadway.

Chart positions[edit]

"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" was Paul Simon's biggest solo hit and broke in the US in late 1975. It hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on February 7, 1976 (his only number one on that chart as a solo act), and remained there for three weeks; it topped the adult contemporary chart for two weeks.[2] Overseas, on the UK Singles Chart, the song reached number 23 in January 1976. It was certified gold on March 11, 1976, and remained a best seller for nearly five months. Billboard ranked it as the No. 8 song of 1976.[3]


Covers, parodies and other notable versions[edit]

  • The Jacksons performed a parody of the song in their TV show, involving humorous sketches that showcased the fifty ways to leave one's lover, announcing them in a similar way to Simon's lyrics, rhyming an activity with a man's name.
  • The Muppets covered the song when Paul Simon appeared on that show. When appearing, Simon himself did a parody on the title when saying that there must be "50 ways to love your lever."
  • Eminem used a sample of the first verse of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" in his song "Murder, Murder".
  • Brad Mehldau covered the song on the album Day is Done (2006).
  • Sophie Milman covered the song on her 2009 album Take Love Easy
  • Sage Francis used modified lyrics of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" combined with his song "Rewrite" to make "Rewrite/50 Ways" on his album "Road Tested."
  • Michel Delpech covered the song in French with the title "Trente manières de quitter une fille".
  • Kid Cudi sampled the song on his 2008 mix tape "A Kid Named Cudi" for "50 Ways To Make A Record".
  • Miley Cyrus covered the song in her "Backyard Sessions" for her charitable "Happy Hippie Foundation".
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus as Vice-President Selina Meyer sang a parody of this song called 50 Ways to Win In Texas in the hit HBO comedy "Veep".


Preceded by
"Love Rollercoaster" by Ohio Players
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 7, 1976 – February 21, 1976 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Theme From S.W.A.T." by Rhythm Heritage
Preceded by
"Break Away" by Art Garfunkel
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single
February 28, 1976 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lonely Night (Angel Face)" by Captain & Tennille


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Gold 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marc Eliot (2010), Paul Simon: A Life, John Wiley and Sons, p. 142, ISBN 978-0-470-43363-8 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 222. 
  3. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1976
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  5. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 24 (21). February 21, 1976. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Programmers' Pop Music Playlist" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 24 (22). February 28, 1976. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Lescharts.com – Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Musicline.de – Paul Simon Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 499. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  11. ^ "Paul Simon - Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Paul Simon – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Paul Simon. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 26 (14–15). January 8, 1977. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 25, 1976: Talent in Action-6
  15. ^ "American single certifications – Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 16, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]