One-Trick Pony (film)

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One-Trick Pony
One Trick Pony (1980) poster.jpg
Directed by Robert M. Young
Produced by Michael Tannen
Written by Paul Simon
Starring Paul Simon
Blair Brown
Rip Torn
Music by Paul Simon
Cinematography Dick Bush
Edited by Edward Beyer
Barry Malkin
David Ray
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
3 October 1980
Running time
98 min
Country  United States
Language English
Box office $843,215[1]

One-Trick Pony is a 1980 film written by and starring Paul Simon. It co-stars Blair Brown, Joan Hackett and Rip Torn and is directed by Robert M. Young.

The song "Late in the Evening", from the film's soundtrack, hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. After years of being available only on videocassette and laserdisc, in 2009 the film was released by Warner Brothers on DVD.


Simon plays Jonah Levin, a once-popular folk rock star who has not had a hit in ten years, and who now opens for punk rock bands. He is trying to record a new album, but faces a number of obstacles, including a trendy but talentless producer (played by Lou Reed), and an indifferent record company executive (Rip Torn) who is pressuring him for something that will sell. He is also trying to restore his relationship with his estranged wife and his young son.


The title derives from a colloquial American expression meaning a person specializing in only one area, having only one talent, or of limited ability.[2][3]

The film has been said [4] to be based on experiences in Simon's professional and personal life. Walter Fox, the record company executive portrayed by Rip Torn, was rumored to be based on Walter Yetnikoff, who was President of CBS Records, Simon's former label, in the '70s. (Simon went to Warner Bros. Records at the time of the film's release. The label, owned by the film's distributor, acquired the masters of Simon's CBS catalog that same year.) The film featured the last appearance of the original members of The Lovin' Spoonful, in a simulated TV show appearance.

The One-Trick Pony album was released concurrently. All of the songs on the album are featured in the film, most in a differently mixed version; e.g. the song "Jonah" features a harmonica solo (probably by Toots Thielemans) that is removed from the album version. The film contains one Paul Simon song not featured on the original album, Jonah Levin's fictional sixties hit "Soft Parachutes".




External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary, Third edition, June 2004; online version March 2011". 
  3. ^ Oregon Pioneer Assoc. 32nd Ann. Reunion. 1905. p. 264. 
  4. ^ Jackson, Laura. (2002). Paul Simon: The Definitive Bio. New York: Citadel Press. p 163