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
Songwriter(s) Paul Simon
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Gone at Last"
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"
"Still Crazy After All These Years"

"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 as a solo artist 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.

Charts and certifications[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), soaring from number ten the previous week, 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]

  • Dinah Shore performed the song on an episode of The Carol Burnett Show in the 70s
  • 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 (2005).
  • 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 Denver in the hit HBO comedy "Veep".
  • Flight of the Conchords used "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" as an inspiration for "Carol Brown".
  • WABC-AM DJ Dan Ingram produced an edited version of the song that shuffled the names around and disrupted the rhyming couplets: the lyric "Slip out the back, Jack" was edited to be "Slip out the back, Stan", and so on.
  • de:Gebrüder Blattschuss covered the song in German in 1977.
  • Heike Makatsch (german actress) covered the song in 1999 for the movie Die Häupter meiner Lieben.
  • Heather Small (lead singer of M People) covered the song on her 2006 album, Close to a Miracle.
  • 50 Ways to Say Goodbye by Train was inspired by the song and was originally going to be titled "50 Ways to Kill Your Lover".[18]
  • 50 ways to love your liver by Oliver Koletzki feat. Jake the Rapper is another parody video playing with theme.

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 (Hot 100)". Billboard. 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. ^ Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
  16. ^ "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
  17. ^ http://aln2.albumlinernotes.com/Paul_Simon_Greatest_Hits.html
  18. ^ "Train Frontman Reveals Original Gruesome Title of "50 Ways to Say Goodbye"". September 27, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 

External links[edit]