The Rhythm of the Saints

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Rhythm of the Saints
Rhythm Of The Saints.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 16, 1990
RecordedDecember 1989 – June 1990
GenrePop, rock, worldbeat
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerPaul Simon
Paul Simon chronology
Negotiations and Love Songs
The Rhythm of the Saints
Paul Simon's Concert in the Park
Singles from The Rhythm of the Saints
  1. "The Obvious Child"
    Released: September 1990
  2. "Proof"
    Released: February 1991
  3. "Born at the Right Time"
    Released: 1991

The Rhythm of the Saints is the eighth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon, released on October 16, 1990 on Warner Bros. Like its predecessor, Graceland (1986), the album gained commercial success and received mostly favorable reviews from critics.

In 1992, The Rhythm of the Saints earned two nominations for the 34th Grammy AwardsAlbum of the Year and Producer of the Year.[1][2]


Following the success of 1986's Graceland, on which he worked principally with South African musicians, Simon broadened his interests in diverse forms of music from around the world. He turned to Latin America for the musicians and rhythms which characterize much of this album, partnering with Afro-Brazilian superstars Grupo Cultural Olodum, masters of the heavily percussive sub-style of samba called Batuque or Batucada. The group's drumming is featured on the opening song and first single, "The Obvious Child". Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento co-wrote "Spirit Voices" and contributed some vocals. Guest appearances were also made by mandolin- and "guitarra baiana" master Armandinho, another Bahia musician, and by Afro-Cuban drummer Francisco Aguabella, and Puerto Rican-born drummer Giovanni Hidalgo. Another collaborator was jazz percussionist and master of the berimbau, Naná Vasconcelos; jazz guitarist Rafael Rabello also played on the album, along with many other Brazilian musicians.

The musical styles on The Rhythm of the Saints are, however, not uniformly Brazilian. US saxophonist Michael Brecker and other horn players contribute as session musicians (for example, on "Proof"), as well as American roots rock guitarist JJ Cale, Fabulous Thunderbirds vocalist Kim Wilson (contributing harmonica on "The Obvious Child"), R&B keyboards player Greg Phillinganes and jazz drummer Steve Gadd. Art rock guitarist and synth player Adrian Belew, who played on Graceland, is credited on "Spirit Voices". There are also many backing vocals on The Rhythm of the Saints, such as "She Moves On", a duet with Charlotte Mbango. Simon was also influenced by bikutsi for this album.[3]

The album is characterized by impressionistic lyrics (referring to the Chernobyl incident in "Can't Run But," an Amazonian ayahuasca experience in "Spirit Voices," and the state of the world in "The Cool, Cool River"), with slower tempos than Graceland and an atmospheric flow. Along with Latin rhythms, the prime influence on the album was West African and Central African music. Cameroonian jazz composer Andre Manga plays bass, and South African guitarist Ray Phiri, who also collaborated on Graceland, plays one song of the album, while famed trumpeter and worldbeat bandleader Hugh Masekela is credited with playing flugelhorn on one song.

Although drums for "The Obvious Child" were recorded live at Pelourinho Square in Salvador, Bahia, Simon recorded most of the rhythms for the tracks in Rio de Janeiro studios before returning to The Hit Factory in New York City to record guitar accompaniment and, later, the final arrangements. The Rhythm of the Saints marks Simon's first collaboration with Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini, a member of Simon's band up until Nguini's death in December 2017. Nguini is credited with creating the music and guitar arrangements for "The Coast", although Simon still wrote the lyrics. Nguini also arranged guitar for other songs, such as "She Moves On" and "The Cool, Cool River," and he arranged the horns for "Proof." Together, Simon and Nguini created the melodies, lyrics, and arrangements that changed the bare rhythm and guitar recordings into (due to Simon's studio experience) the expertly-edited final product.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Blender4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[6]
Christgau's Consumer Guide(1-star Honorable Mention)[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyA+[9]
Los Angeles Times4/5 stars[10]
Orlando Sentinel5/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[13]

The Rhythm of the Saints peaked at #4 on the US album chart, while Graceland had peaked at #3, both among Simon's most commercially successful albums. The album was also commercially successful across the Atlantic, reaching #1 on the UK album chart. However, with the exception of "The Obvious Child", none of its singles charted or received substantial radio play ("Proof" and "Born at the Right Time" were released as well). "The Obvious Child" also failed to reach the US top 40, although it came in at #15 in the UK – his last major hit in the UK. In the end, the album was certified multi-Platinum.

Central Park concert[edit]

Simon, alongside various musicians, performed live versions of many of the songs from the album at a free concert in Central Park, New York City on August 15, 1991, in front of an audience of around 50,000 people. The performance was recorded and later released as the album Paul Simon's Concert in the Park.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Paul Simon, except where noted.[14]

Side one

  1. "The Obvious Child" – 4:10
  2. "Can't Run But" – 3:36
  3. "The Coast" (Simon, Vincent Nguini) – 5:04
  4. "Proof" – 4:39
  5. "Further to Fly" – 5:36

Side two

  1. "She Moves On" – 5:03
  2. "Born at the Right Time" – 3:48
  3. "The Cool, Cool River" – 4:33
  4. "Spirit Voices" (Simon, Milton Nascimento) – 3:56
  5. "The Rhythm of the Saints" – 4:12

Alternate listing[edit]

According to an article published in Stereophile magazine, Simon's original track sequence was changed when "the boys in Warners' front office insisted the album's lead single, 'The Obvious Child' be given pride of place." To hear Simon's preferred track order, the current release would have to be re-sequenced as 3-6-4-7-8-1-2-9-5-10 (see below).[15]

  1. "The Coast"
  2. "She Moves On"
  3. "Proof"
  4. "Born at the Right Time"
  5. "The Cool, Cool River"
  6. "The Obvious Child"
  7. "Can't Run But"
  8. "Spirit Voices"
  9. "Further To Fly"
  10. "The Rhythm of the Saints"

2004 reissue[edit]

In 2004, the album was remastered by Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot. It was reissued with the same track order as the original release, along with four previously unreleased bonus tracks:

  1. "Born at the Right Time" (Acoustic demo) – 3:50
  2. "Thelma" (Outtake) – 4:14
  3. "The Coast" (Work-in-progress version) – 5:13
  4. "Spirit Voices" (Work-in-progress version) – 3:49




  1. ^ Dennis Hunt and Richard Cromelin (1991-01-09). "THE 34TH ANNUAL GRAMMY NOMINATIONS : Grammys Get 'Religion,' Nominate R.E.M. 7 Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  2. ^ Dennis Hunt and Richard Cromelin. "Rock On The Net: 34th Annual Grammy Awards – 1992". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  3. ^ Mick Berry, Jason Gianni (2003). The Drummer's Bible: How to Play Every Drum Style from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco. See Sharp Press. p. 74 . ISBN 978-1-884365-32-4.
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Rhythm of the Saints – Paul Simon". AllMusic. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Powers, Ann (November 2006). "Back Catalogue: Paul Simon". Blender. New York (53).
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (October 14, 1990). "The Evolution Of Simon's Diverse Solo Career". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "CG Book '90s: S". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan. ISBN 0312245602. Retrieved March 30, 2019 – via
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Sandow, Greg (October 26, 1990). "The Rhythm of the Saints". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  10. ^ Willman, Chris (October 14, 1990). "Paul Simon: 'The Rhythm of the Saints' (Warner Bros.)". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Gettelman, Parry (October 19, 1990). "Paul Simon". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  12. ^ McAlley, John (November 15, 1990). "Paul Simon: The Rhythym(sic) of the Saints". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Paul Simon". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). London: Fireside Books. pp. 736–37. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ " Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  17. ^ "Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints –". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  18. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (28 December 1989). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2017 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  20. ^ " Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  21. ^ September 2011
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Paul Simon". Archived from the original on 2010-12-28. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  24. ^ "Album Search: Paul Simon" (in German). Media Control. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  25. ^ "Kereső - előadó/cím szerint - Archívum - Hivatalos magyar slágerlisták". Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - ALBUM 1990". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Highest position and charting weeks of The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon". (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  28. ^ " Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  29. ^ " – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  30. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  31. ^ " Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  32. ^ "Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints –". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  33. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Paul Simon – The Rhythm Of The Saints". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  34. ^ Allmusic – The Rhythm of the Saints > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 50 Albums 1990". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1990". RPM. December 22, 1990. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  37. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1990" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  38. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  39. ^ "RPM 100 Albums (CDs & Cassettes) of 1991". RPM. December 21, 1991. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  40. ^ "Billboard's list reveals best sellers". Houston Chronicle Archives. Billboard. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  41. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of The Saints" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  42. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of The Saints". Music Canada.
  43. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Paul Simon; 'Rhythm of The Saints')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  44. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of The Saints". Recorded Music NZ.
  45. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979-1990". Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
  46. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Paul Simon; 'The Rhythm of The Saints')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  47. ^ "British album certifications – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of The Saints". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Rhythm of The Saints in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  48. ^ "American album certifications – Paul Simon – The Rhythm of The Saints". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.