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Paul Simon can’t play live due to hearing loss in one ear: “Nobody has an explanation for it”

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Paul Simon just released a critically acclaimed new album, Seven Psalms, but he says even if he really wanted to tour to promote it, he can’t — because he’s lost most of the hearing in his left year.


Speaking to the U.K.’s Sunday Times, Simon, 81, says the loss was “quite sudden,” adding, “Nobody has an explanation for it. So everything became more difficult. My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself.”

That doesn’t seem to be happening, which means that Simon can’t perform live, but he says he isn’t particularly eager to return to the stage. 

“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them,” he says. “Sometimes there are songs that I like and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the f*** are you doing, Paul?’ Quite often that would come during ‘You Can Call Me Al.’ I’d think, ‘What are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.’”

Simon, who now lives on a ranch in Texas with his wife, Edie Brickell, wrote Seven Psalms after he had a dream on January 19, 2019 — the anniversary of his father’s death.

“The dream was specific,” he says. “‘You are writing, or are meant to write, a piece called Seven Psalms.’ It was a very insistent statement, so much so that I wrote it down.” 

The paper he wrote it down on is now framed in his studio, as is a copy of his and Art Garfunkel‘s first single, “Hey Schoolgirl,” which they recorded in 1957 under the name Tom & Jerry.

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