Hearts and Bones

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For the BBC TV Series, see Hearts and Bones (TV series).
Hearts and Bones
Hearts and Bones.jpg
Studio album by Paul Simon
Released November 4, 1983
Genre Rock
Length 40:30
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Roy Halee
Paul Simon
Russ Titelman
Lenny Waronker
Paul Simon chronology
One-Trick Pony
Hearts and Bones

Hearts and Bones is the sixth solo studio album by Paul Simon. It was released in 1983.

The album was originally intended to be called Think Too Much, but Mo Ostin, president of Warner Bros. Records, persuaded Simon to change it to Hearts and Bones.[1] The album was written and recorded following the Simon and Garfunkel Concert in Central Park in 1981, and the world tour of 1982-1983. Several songs intended for Think Too Much were previewed on tour, and Garfunkel worked on some of the songs with Simon in the studio,[2] with an intention that the finished product would be a Simon & Garfunkel album.[3] Garfunkel ultimately left the project early on, and none of his contributions were included in the final mix. This was due to a fight between Simon and Garfunkel that ended with Simon taking a month off to digitally remove Garfunkel from the album, note for note.


The title track is about Simon and his then-girlfriend, Carrie Fisher, traveling through New Mexico ("one and one-half wandering Jews"), and also about love in general. (It is often wrongly assumed that Fisher was his wife at the time of this composition; however, the song is copyrighted 1982 and the couple did not marry until August 1983). The album also contains one of the few songs about numbers — "When Numbers Get Serious", which evokes the beginnings of the Information Age. Also unusual is "Think Too Much", actually two different songs with the same title and chorus line, dealing generally with thinking (and love).

The eighth track, "René and Georgette Magritte with their Dog after the War", is about the surrealist artist René Magritte and his wife Georgette, and suggests that they secretly admired the music of such doo-wop artists as The Penguins, The Moonglows, The Orioles and The Five Satins. The title derives from a caption to a photograph of the Magrittes, "Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog During the War". Simon changed "During" to "After" as it scanned better for the song lyric.

The last track, "The Late Great Johnny Ace", is Simon's homage to John Lennon, who had been murdered shortly before Simon wrote it. The song and its title also wistfully hark back to Johnny Ace, an early rock and roller who died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot to the face. Simon premiered the song during Simon & Garfunkel's reunion concert in Central Park; near the end of the song a fan ran onto the stage. The man was dragged offstage by Simon's personnel. The man can be heard speaking to Simon, "I have to talk to you". The closing music of this track (an instrumental section using strings, clarinet and flute) was written by composer Philip Glass.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau B+[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]

Although in 1983 the album was considered a commercial failure and signaled a low point in Simon's career, the passage of time has been kind to the album. It has been re-examined and considered to be one of Simon's more important records and a lyrically strong one.[4] Robert Christgau later referred to the album as being "a finely wrought dead end."[7]


There were two songs from this album released as singles. The first single with "Allergies" as the A-side and "Think Too Much (b)" as the B-side peaked at #44 in the U.S. Hot 100. The second single failed to chart, this being "Think Too Much (a)" (A-side) and "Song About the Moon" (B-side). (Also, the title track was released as the flipside to "Graceland" in the U.S. in 1986, and as the B-side of "The Boy in the Bubble" elsewhere in the world).

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul Simon, with one-minute coda on Track 10 written by Philip Glass.

Side One

  1. "Allergies" – 4:37
  2. "Hearts and Bones" – 5:37
  3. "When Numbers Get Serious" – 3:25
  4. "Think Too Much (b)" – 2:44
  5. "Song About the Moon" – 4:07

Side Two

  1. "Think Too Much (a)" – 3:05
  2. "Train in the Distance" – 5:11
  3. "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War" – 3:44
  4. "Cars Are Cars" – 3:15
  5. "The Late Great Johnny Ace" – 4:45
Bonus tracks
  1. "Shelter of Your Arms" (Unreleased Work-in-Progress) – 3:11
  2. "Train in the Distance" (Original acoustic demo) – 3:13
  3. "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War" (Original acoustic demo) – 3:47
  4. "The Late Great Johnny Ace" (Original acoustic demo) – 3:22

11-14 are bonus tracks on the remastered Rhino Records CD-release (July 2004):


The uncredited horn section for the songs "Allergies" and "Cars Are Cars" are Mark Rivera (sax) Jon Faddis & Alan Rubin (trumpets)

  • Dave Matthews - horn arrangements

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1983) Position
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[8] 3
Swedish Albums Chart[9] 11
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[10] 14
French SNEP Albums Chart [11] 19
Swiss Albums Chart[12] 25
Spanish Albums Chart[13] 27
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[14] 30
UK Albums Chart[15] 34
United States Billboard Pop Albums[16] 35
Canadian Albums Chart[17] 50
German Media Control Albums Chart[18] 51
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart[19] 99


  1. ^ Marc Eliot (18 Oct 2010). Paul Simon: A Life. John Wiley & Sons. p. 181. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Jeffrey Perlah (30 May 1998). "Billboard review". Billboard. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Don Shewey (24 Nov 1983). "Paul Simon: Hearts And Bones : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Allmusic review
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ Rolling Stone review
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 23, 1986). "South Africa Romance". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Paul Simon - Hearts And Bones". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  9. ^ "swedishcharts.com Paul Simon - Hearts And Bones". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  10. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Paul Simon - Hearts And Bones". dutchcharts.nl. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  11. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Paul Simon". infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  12. ^ "Paul Simon - Hearts And Bones - hitparade.ch". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  13. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  14. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  15. ^ "Chart Stats - Paul Simon - Hearts And Bones". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  16. ^ Allmusic - Hearts and Bones > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  17. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.4379a&type=1&interval=20&PHPSESSID=lo0152od4caliufjkgh3mkphk6
  18. ^ "Album Search: Paul Simon" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 

External links[edit]