Paul Simon (album)

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Paul Simon
Studio album by Paul Simon
Released January 24, 1972
Recorded January to March 1971
Studio CBS Studios, San Francisco and New York, Western Recorders, Los Angeles, Dynamic Sound Studios, Kingston and CBE Studios, Paris
Genre Folk rock
Length 34:03
Paul Simon chronology
The Paul Simon Songbook
(1965)The Paul Simon Songbook1965
Paul Simon
There Goes Rhymin' Simon
(1973)There Goes Rhymin' Simon1973
Singles from Paul Simon
  1. "Mother and Child Reunion" b/w "Paranoia Blues"
    Released: February 1972
  2. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" b/w "Congratulations"
    Released: May 1972
  3. "Duncan" b/w "Run That Body Down"
    Released: July 1972

Paul Simon is the second solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was released in January 1972, nearly two years after he split up with longtime musical partner Art Garfunkel. His first solo album was recorded in England in 1965 but remained unreleased in the U.S. (except for a brief period in 1969) until 1981, when it appeared in the 5-LP Collected Works boxed set. Originally released on Columbia Records, Paul Simon was then issued under the Warner Bros. label and is now back with Columbia through Sony. The album topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Japan and Norway and reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums. In 1986 it was certified platinum.[1]


Simon taught songwriting classes at New York University during the summer of 1971. Among the students he taught were two of the Roche sisters, Maggie and Terre, and singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester who remembers that Simon was nervous, listened to the students' songs and offered suggestions and criticism, often dissecting the lyrics and drawing comparisons with his own work while offering insights into his own work and sources of inspiration.[2]

Simon traveled to San Francisco to record some demos and began to work with different musical styles for a proposed solo album, including Latin music, jazz, blues and reggae with the song "Mother and Child Reunion", recorded in Kingston, Jamaica. Guest musicians on the record included Stephane Grappelli, Ron Carter, and Airto Moreira. The music reflects Simon's interest in world music.

Several songs on the album, such as "Run That Body Down" (in which both "Paul" and "Peg" are mentioned by name) and "Congratulations", make reference directly or indirectly to his rocky marriage to Peggy (née Harper), which ended in divorce in 1975. Other themes include drugs and adolescence.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[3]
Blender5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA[7]
Mojo4/5 stars[8]
Record Collector4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[10]
The Village VoiceA+[11]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau gave Paul Simon an "A+" and wrote, "this is the only thing in the universe to make me positively happy in the first two weeks of February 1972."[11] In Rolling Stone, Jon Landau called it "his least detached, most personal and painful piece of work thus far — this from a lyricist who has never shied away from pain as subject or theme."[12]

Critical praise was indeed widespread for this album, though some reviewers were put off by it. Noel Coppage, in Stereo Review, called it "undistinguished" and added, "I gather...this album is merely Simon's way of keeping his hand in while Garfunkel makes movies....I'm now wondering if Garfunkel's arranging work doesn't include sending Simon back to rewrite some of his songs before recording them."[13] Despite Coppage's panning, the other Stereo Review critics went on to give the album one of its "Record Of The Year" awards.[14] It was ranked number 268 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and number 984 in All-Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd. edition, 2000) [15].

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul Simon, except "Hobo's Blues" co-written by Stéphane Grappelli.

Side one

  1. "Mother and Child Reunion" – 3:05
  2. "Duncan" – 4:39
  3. "Everything Put Together Falls Apart" – 1:59
  4. "Run That Body Down" – 3:52
  5. "Armistice Day" – 3:55

Side two

  1. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" – 2:42
  2. "Peace Like a River" – 3:20
  3. "Papa Hobo" – 2:34
  4. "Hobo's Blues" – 1:21
  5. "Paranoia Blues" – 2:54
  6. "Congratulations" – 3:42

2004 reissue tracks

  1. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71) – 2:29
  2. "Duncan" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71)" – 2:48
  3. "Paranoia Blues" (Unreleased Version) – 3:14




  • Roy Halee - co-producer, engineer
  • Leslie Kong - contractor (1)
  • Bernard Estardy - additional engineer (2)
  • Phil Ramone - engineer (6)
  • John Berg, Ron Coro - design
  • P.A. Harper - photography


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Superseventies review". Superseventies. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  2. ^ "Paul Simon – The neck of my guitar". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Paul Simon – Paul Simon". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Powers, Ann (November 2006). "Back Catalogue: Paul Simon". Blender. New York (53).
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (October 14, 1990). "The Evolution Of Simon's Diverse Solo Career". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Browne, David (January 18, 1991). "Rating Paul Simon's albums". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  8. ^ "Paul Simon: Paul Simon". Mojo. London: 116. [H]e was already adept at dressing songs in exotic garb....This is a reminder of just how fruitful Simon's genre-hopping could be.
  9. ^ "Paul Simon: Paul Simon". Record Collector. London: 97. [H]is hunger to explore different musical styles is evident on his eponymous 1972 release...
  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Paul Simon". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside Books. pp. 736–37. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 2, 1972). "Consumer Guide (24)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  12. ^ Landau, Jon (March 2, 1972). "Paul Simon: Paul Simon". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  13. ^ STEREO REVIEW, July 1972, Vol. 28, #1, p. 84.
  14. ^ Stereo Review, February 1973, Vol. 30, #2, p. 81.
  15. ^ "Rocklist". Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^
  18. ^ " Paul Simon – Paul Simon". MegaCharts. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  19. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  20. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1972" (in Italian). Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  21. ^ "21 世紀洋楽元年到来!? 2005年年間洋楽チャート大発表!". (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  22. ^ " Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  23. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  24. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1972-03-25). Billboard – March 25 – 1973. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
  25. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  26. ^ Allmusic – Paul Simon > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  27. ^ "Album Search: Paul Simon: Paul Simon" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  28. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1972" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  29. ^ "Top-ten of the Japanese Year-End Albums Charts 1970–1974" (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from 1970~1974年アルバム年間ヒットチャート the original Check |url= value (help) on July 16, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.