Paul Simon has been churning out great original folk and pop songs for decades. Whether you're just getting acquainted with his music or are just interested in creating a Paul Simon playlist...here's a look at five of Paul Simon's greatest songs.
Most artists who have toured even just a little bit have a good healthy repertoire of road songs. Some of them are full of wanderlust, others are full of longing. "Homeward Bound" is one of those songs which adequately communicates both. Of course, much of the lyricism is focused on wanting to go home, living each day when "every stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band." There's a clear struggle against the lure of the road and the loneliness which sets in after being out for so long.
It's a mystery what "the momma" in this song saw that started the investigation. Regardless, "Me and Julio" was a terrific early tune from Paul Simon's debut solo album. With its provocative narrative and island rhythm, whistling, and catchy chorus, the tune has managed to remain timeless and doesn't at all come across like something that was written decades ago.
This classic song is possibly one of Simon's most popular songs. The lyrics talk about the truth and imagination in nostalgia. As the song's narrator looks back over his life, he wonders how much of what he remembers really happened the way he remembers it. Of course there's the "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away" breakdown the closes out the song, along with a vibrant keyboard and horns solo.
Who doesn't love the chorus for "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"? It's one of those hooks that could exist just fine without the verses to tie it together, it's such a terrific blend of groove, lyrics, and melody. Of course, the narrative of this song is about someone trying to convince their friend to drop the loser already. Though Simon only gives us five ways to leave your lover, it's a fun game to think of what the other 45 might be.
"Graceland" is not the most popular song from the album by the same name (that distinction would probably go to "You Can Call Me Al"), but the story of the song is possibly one of Simon's most stirring. It addresses the need to find grace in the wake of a broken heart and life's other difficulties. It's about a journey - not only to the home of The King, but also toward peace within oneself.