Monday, May 08, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • Paul Simon and George Harrison • May, 1973

There Goes Rhymin' Simon
 was released by Paul Simon on May 5, 1973 and I bought it shortly after. It instantly was one of my all-time favorite albums with so many great songs. I love them all to this day. If there was ever a doubt about the genius of Paul Simon, this album puts Simon into rarified air among artists. In 2003, the album was ranked number 267 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums, I personally would put it in the Top 100.

In the spring of 1973, as the Watergate scandal was heating up and leading to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974, Simon's American Tune hits the streets. If ever there was a song that captures that snapshot in time, it's American Tune. It is in fact a timeless song. Listen to it today, and it plugs right into today. Upon hearing it again this past week, I immediately thought of the mass killings happening everyday in America with assault weapons. 

For me, American Tune transcends an individual citizen's weariness to our nation's weariness. We now live in a time where keeping Democracy is a taunting challenge. Our weariness in this struggle is felt by millions, but we get up every morning with the knowledge of who we are and the collective tasks ahead, as Americans.

I never tire of reading the lyrics.

American Tune

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused

Oh, but I'm alright, I'm alright
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees

But it's alright, it's alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what has gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly

And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call The Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune

Oh, and it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Living in a Material World was released by George Harrison on May 30, 1973. I never purchased this album, but in the world of streaming albums and YouTube, I can listen to it anytime. This past week I sat down and listened to the whole album and now appreciate this gem of a record with it's #1 smash hit Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) which in turn made it the #1 album at the time too.

This album hits at a time where many young people are "losing their religion" and finding an inner spiritual awareness as an individual over organized religious denominations. In 1973, I was still very much in the grips of a conservative Baptist upbringing, but rock 'n' roll would help "save me" in the long run from that narrow mindedness, to creating my own path. It's interesting that George emerged from the "Quiet Beatle", to openly share his own spiritual journey as a wealthy person in a spiritually poor world.


In 1976, Paul Simon hosted Saturday Night Live and his special musical guest was none other than George Harrison. Here I have included their two songs together, George's Here Comes The Sun followed by Paul's Homeward Bound.

1 comment:

  1. Couple of great ones. Can’t wait to delve into these two gems with Mel when we hit the trail here in a bit. Thank goodness we still have artistic freedom to the extent that we can benefit from someone helping to put things into perspective. I shudder to think of the day some Ron Desantis type comes for our record collections. Thanks Doug.


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