Paul Simon Credits John Lennon For Helping Save Guitar Chops
Paul Simon spoke to Rolling Stone and looked back at some of his favorite solo albums while promoting his new 15-CD retrospective, Paul Simon - The Complete Albums Collection. When talking about the Grammy Award-winning 1975 Still Crazy After All These Years set, he explained that he was oblivious to the hit potential of "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" -- which went on to become his only solo chart-topper, recalling: "I never know what's going to be a hit. I thought 'Cecilia' would be a single (for Simon & Garfunkel) but Clive Davis thought we should release 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' instead. So I was very surprised when '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover' was a hit, with that Steve Gadd drum part."
He remembered that John Lennon actually played a big role in helping him finish the album: "I was having problems with one of my fingers when I was making the album; I had to have cortisone shots and I wasn't playing that much guitar. Then I ran into John and Yoko (Ono) on the street and they suggested I see a woman who put me on a macrobiotic diet. Maybe my finger would have healed anyway, but that diet worked."
Simon revealed that he still has a soft spot for his second solo album, 1973's There Goes Rhymin' Simon: "That may be my favorite album of the '70s. It's joyful. We made a lot of it down in Muscle Shoals, and I was able to do gospel on 'Loves Me Like A Rock.' Of all the hits I had, 'Kodachrome' is the most typical pop song; it's just very pop. We had to get permission from Kodak to use the name so we had to put a copyright sign on the album. That was pretty funny."
During a recent appearance on PBS, Paul Simon explained that the songwriting process is just as mysterious as it was when he began over 50 years ago: "When the sound seems to be correct in my imagination, the story can begin. I don't know what I'm going to write when I begin to write. It feels like you're walking down a path, but you don't. . . you can't see around the bend, and you don't know where you're going to go -- which is fun."
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