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Paul Simon Admits He Can’t Always Pick A Hit

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Even after all these years, Paul Simon admits he can’t always pick which of his songs will be hits. Simon, who’ll release Stranger To Stranger, his 14th solo album on June 3rd, revealed to Drowned In Sound, that the songs that tuned out to be classics almost all took him by surprise: “I was just writing songs, and a bunch of them turned into hits but, if I wrote ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’ it wasn’t as if I thought: this is going to be a hit. I just wrote the song. I didn’t even think that ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was a hit. I thought it was really good, but I didn’t think that it was a hit. I thought ‘Cecelia’ was a hit, I thought ‘Kodachrome’ was a hit, but I didn’t think ‘Mother And Child Reunion’ was going to be a hit, or ‘Loves Me Like A Rock’, or any number of odd things that I tended to like.

Simon went on to say that once an album is mixed and mastered, the creative process is over for him: “What happens is, once I finish, I really don’t go back and listen to my older albums. By the time I’m finished with it, I’m finished. I know that when I go out to play live I’m going to play ‘Wristband,’ ‘Werewolf,’ and ‘Stranger To Stranger,’ but part of the reason I’m doing that is that I can do those songs with an acoustic band.”

Simon & Garfunkel’s breakthrough tune, “The Sound Of Silence,” was originally a sparse acoustic duet. Long after the fact, the duo’s producer Tom Wilson added electric backing to the 1964 track, and a year later released the overdubbed version, which scored the duo their first of three chart toppers. Paul Simon explained that he was impartial to Wilson tinkering with his song and the original recording: “First of all, I didn’t even hear about it until it was already out and sort of making a little bit of noise. ‘The Sound Of Silence’ was out, had come out for a year on and album called, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., and that album came out and disappeared. So when they decided to overdub whatever they wanted — first of all, no one asked me, and second of all, it was already a dead issue, so I didn’t really mind.”

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May 19 – Lincoln, NE – Pinewood Bowl Theater
May 20 – Denver, CO – Bellco Theatre
May 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Maverick Center
May 23 – Boise, ID – Botanical Gardens
May 25 – Portland, OR – Schnitzer Concert Hall
May 26 – Vancouver, BC – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
May 28, 29 – Woodinville, WA – Chateau St. Michelle
June 1 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
June 3, 4 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
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June 11 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight
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June 14, 15 – Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theatre
June 18 – Highland Park, IL – The Pavillion At Ravinia Park
June 19 – Rochester Hills, MI – Meadow Brook
June 21 – Toronto, ON – Sony Centre
June 22 – Montreal, QC – Place Des Arts
June 24 – Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
June 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts
June 27, 28 – Vienna, VA – Filene Center At Wolf Trap
June 30 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Tennis Stadium
July 1 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

Photo Courtesy of Mary Ellen Matthews

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