Graceland (song)

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Graceland single cover.jpg
Single by Paul Simon
from the album Graceland
ReleasedNovember 1986[1]
RecordedNovember 1985
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
Producer(s)Paul Simon
Paul Simon singles chronology
"You Can Call Me Al"
"The Boy in the Bubble"

"Graceland" is the title song of the album Graceland, released in 1986 by Paul Simon. The song features vocals by The Everly Brothers.

The lyrics deal with the singer's thoughts during a road trip to Graceland after the failure of his marriage. Actress and author Carrie Fisher, Simon's ex-wife, said that the song referred in part to their relationship.[2]

In addition to his trip to Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley, the song contains numerous allusions and references to other cultural touchstones, including National Guitars and the "Human Trampoline." This has in turn become a part of popular culture and is referenced in Salman Rushdie's book Quichotte.[3]


The song won the 1988 Grammy Award for Record of the Year. It was the lowest-charting song on any of the world music charts to win Record of the Year until the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss US non-charting song "Please Read the Letter" won the same award in 2009.

It was listed at #485 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs in 2004.[4]

"Graceland" has been covered by artists such as Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear, El Vez, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Tallest Man on Earth, Justin Townes Earle and Joshua Lee Turner.

A cover by Willie Nelson peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1993.[5] In Nelson's version, he alters the line "There is a girl in New York City, who calls herself the human trampoline," replacing New York City with Austin, Texas. Simon and Nelson have performed the song together on several occasions, including Farm Aid V, in Irving, Texas, on March 14, 1992, Willie's 60th birthday concert in April 1993, and when both men appeared as musical guests on the eighteenth season finale of Saturday Night Live on May 15, 1993.

An acoustic version of the song was included as a track on The Unplugged Collection, Volume One.[6]



Chart (1986–87) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8] 62
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 35
Canada (RPM)[10] 70
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[11] 14
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 27
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 79
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 37
UK Singles (OCC)[15] 98
US Album Rock Tracks (Billboard)[16] 38
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 81


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Grammy Awards Honor U2 "...despite the fact that the Graceland album, released in 1986, had been named album of the year at the 1987 awards. The single had been released after Oct. 1, 1986, qualifying it for [the 1988] awards."
  2. ^ Greene, Andy (28 November 2016). "Carrie Fisher on LSD, Death, and Sex with Han Solo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  3. ^ O'Driscoll, Declan. "Subscriber Only: Quichotte: Salman Rushdie, you're no Cervantes". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  4. ^ "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rock List Music. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  6. ^ Sinclair, Tom (1994-12-16). "The Unplugged Collection, Volume One". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  7. ^ Director & Producer: Jeremy Marre (25 November 2016). "Classic Albums: Paul Simon: Graceland". Classic Albums. BBC. BBC Four.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Paul Simon – Graceland" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 45 (19). February 14, 1987. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  11. ^ "RPM: Adult Contemporary" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 45 (16). January 24, 1987. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Graceland". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "Paul Simon – Graceland" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Paul Simon – Graceland". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  15. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 499. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  16. ^ "Paul Simon – Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  17. ^ "Paul Simon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  18. ^ "British single certifications – Paul Simon – Graceland". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 11, 2020.