Kodachrome (song)

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Single by Paul Simon
from the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon
ReleasedMay 19, 1973
GenrePop rock, country rock, folk rock, rock and roll
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Loves Me Like a Rock"
Kodachrome – Paul Simon; Vinyl record

"Kodachrome" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the lead single from his third studio album, There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973), released on Columbia Records. The song is named after Kodak's now-discontinued reversal film brand Kodachrome.


After a review in Billboard's May 12 issue praising its "cheerfully antisocial lyrics," the song debuted at No. 82 in the Hot 100 on the week-ending May 19, 1973.[1][2] The lyrics to this song on There Goes Rhymin' Simon differed in wording from those on The Concert in Central Park (1982) and Paul Simon's Concert in the Park, August 15, 1991 albums. The former (the album) said, "...everything looks worse in black and white," but the latter (the concerts) said, "...everything looks better in black and white." While it might be easy to read into the change in lyrics, Simon said, "I can't remember which way I originally wrote it – 'better' or 'worse' – but I always change it....'Kodachrome' was a song that was originally called 'Goin' Home.'"[3]

But the real significance was that Kodachrome film gave unrealistic color saturation. Pictures taken on a dull day looked as if they were taken on a sunny day. (To correct this, serious photographers would use a Wratten 2b UV filter to normalize the images.)[4][5]


In an interview conducted in November 2008, Simon said that what he had in mind when writing the song was to call it "Going Home". However, finding this would have been "too conventional", he came up with "Kodachrome", because of its similar sound and larger innovative potential. He also refers to its first line as the "most interesting" part of the song.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Four weeks after its debut on the Hot 100, the song moved to No. 9, sandwiched ahead of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando and behind May 19, 1973, Hot 100 top debut (No. 59) "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" by George Harrison.[7]

Two weeks later "Kodachrome" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100,[8] behind "Will It Go Round in Circles" by Billy Preston.[9] It peaked at No. 2 the Billboard adult contemporary chart, as well.[10] In the United Kingdom, the song was marketed as the B-side to "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (CBS 1578).[11] The song was also banned by the Federation of (Australian) Radio Broadcasters.[12]


The musicians on this session were the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.[26][dead link]



  1. ^ "Radio Action & Pick Singles" (PDF). Billboard. May 12, 1973. p. 56. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 85 no. 38. May 19, 1973. p. 68. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ "Still Creative After All These Years," interview with Daniel J. Levitin, Grammy magazine, Winter, 1997.
  4. ^ "WRATTEN 2 Filters – Motion Picture Film". www.kodak.com.
  5. ^ "Kodachrome Color Saturation Myth Revisited". Photo.net Photography Forums.
  6. ^ "Interviews".
  7. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 85 no. 42. June 16, 1973. p. 88. ISSN 0006-2510.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  9. ^ "Top 100 Songs – Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  10. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
  11. ^ See label photos at 45cat.com
  12. ^ Billboard (Billboard Publications), July 7, 1973, page 53.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 19 no. 23. July 21, 1973. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Programmers' Adult Contemporary Playlist" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 19 no. 23. July 21, 1973. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "Lescharts.com – Paul Simon – Kodachrome" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Paul Simon – Kodachrome" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  18. ^ [Flavour of New Zealand, August 27, 1973]
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  20. ^ "Paul Simon – Chart history". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  21. ^ "Paul Simon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  22. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 7/14/73". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '73" (PDF). RPM. December 29, 1973. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1973/Top 100 Songs of 1973". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  25. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1973". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "Paul Simon Greatest Hits". aln2.albumlinernotes.


External links[edit]