|Single by Paul Simon|
|from the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon|
|Paul Simon singles chronology|
The song is named after the Kodak 35mm film Kodachrome. After a review in Billboard's May 12 issue praising its "cheerfully antisocial lyrics," the song debuted at #82 in the Hot 100 on the week-ending May 19, 1973. Four weeks later, the song moved to #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 (#59) "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" by George Harrison; two weeks later it peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Billboard adult contemporary chart. In the United Kingdom, the song was marketed as the B-side to "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (CBS 1578). According to American Top 40 host Casey Kasem, this happened because the British Broadcasting Corporation would not play the trademarked name. The song was also banned by the Federation of (Australian) Radio Broadcasters.
Kodak required the album to note that Kodachrome is a trademark of Kodak and to include the registered trademark symbol (®) after the song's title. The 2012 release Paul Simon Live In New York City, which includes a live performance of "Kodachrome", does not include the symbol or the trademark statement.
In the late 1990s, Kodak used the song in commercials to sell film.
The lyrics to this song on There Goes Rhymin' Simon differed in wording from those on the 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.'"
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.
The first line runs, "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." A handful of radio stations banned the song as a direct result of its use of the word "crap". WABC in New York City, one of America's most influential Top 40 stations at the time, edited the line to "When I think back, it's a wonder I can think at all."
Use in media
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 85 (38): 68. May 19, 1973. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 85 (42): 88. June 16, 1973. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
- Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
- See label photos at 45cat.com
- Billboard (Billboard Publications), July 7, 1973, page 53.
- "Still Creative After All These Years," interview with Daniel J. Levitin, Grammy magazine, Winter, 1997.
- "Kodachrome by Paul Simon Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
- Paul Simon on "One on One" with Katherine Lanpher Thursday, November 13, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 19 (23). July 21, 1973. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- "The Programmers' Adult Contemporary Playlist" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 19 (23). July 21, 1973. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- "Lescharts.com – Paul Simon – Kodachrome" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Paul Simon – Kodachrome" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Paul Simon - Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "Paul Simon – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Paul Simon. Retrieved November 12, 2015.