Paul Simon sings in isolation

March 29, 2020 • 1:30 pm

I sense a new series coming on: musicians playing in self-quarantine (see the recent post on An die Freude). Here’s Paul Simon singing one of his best songs. Yes, the voice is a far cry from the old days, but take the will for the deed.

Reader Tom Czarny, who sent this, comments:

I wept listening to this.  Suddenly, unbeckoned, I was in tears.   I usually don’t do that sort of thing.  This song meant a great deal to me as a young man in 1973, but to hear Simon sing it again alone in some unknown, empty space under this lowering cloud of pandemic just opened the floodgates.

Hope to talk to you again on the other side of all this.

16 thoughts on “Paul Simon sings in isolation

    1. Thank you for a Blast from the Past. A friend sent this to me years ago, and it’s one of the loveliest things I’ve seen and heard. I’m so glad to see it and hear it again!

      Here comes another lovely thing that came rolling in on the InterGoogle. This is the second time this has made its way into my computer:

      “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
      And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
      And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

      I’m not gonna pray, obviously! What sort of “god” would inflict this disaster on people? Not that I’ve ever believed in the first place. Nevertheless this piece resonates with me because, well, it’s happening…

      1. That quote is so appropriate, and all the more so because it speaks to what is happening in my personal life.

        It’s often the case that we observe the outside world from the safety of our private fortresses, somewhat insulated and above the fray. But what is going on in the world now perfectly coincides with a stunning change in my own circumstances; that the two events are happening at the same time is beyond belief.

        I’m again reminded of why people will take refuge in comforting stories — it feels as though the universe is angry at me.

        I’ve met my shadow, and I’ve begun to think differently.

  1. Lovely. Thank you. I think the tears are a natural consequence of our current ages – when we first heard this, we were young and able to “yeah, let’s do something about that.” Now, we look around and see that everything we thought we’d done and progress we thought we’d made was illusory, so easily reversed. Nevertheless, the beauty of this tune and the empathy of the words comforts us even as we cry.

  2. An only vaguely related memory: my daughter and I were at a Paul Simon concert in Salt Lake City as the bombs started falling in “Desert Storm”.

  3. So with nothing else of any urgency to do today I let myself get sucked down the youtube rabbit hole. Here are some of the best live performance clips I came across.

    AURORA covers Massive Attack ‘Teardrop’ for Like A Version I’d never heard of Aurora before, but . . . wow. Tough song to sing and I thought this was just beautiful. I think I like it better than the original.

    Linda Ronstadt “You’re No Good” Live 1976 (Reelin’ In The Years Archives) Linda Ronstadt is an old favorite of mine and, I think, on the short list for best pop / rock vocalist ever. This is a great recording here. “There are two kinds of men in the world: Those who have a crush on Linda Ronstadt; and Those who don’t know who she is.”(attributed to Willie Nelson)

    BB King Called This His Best Live Performance I’m willing to take him at his word. This is another great music video recording. But, I saw him twice in concert and he was always very good. But this footage is a bit of history. It’s from his famous Sing Sing prison Thanksgiving show, recorded in 1973

    Barbara Lynn Performing on The!!!! Beat, What’d I Say This is just mesmerizingly cool. Sort of a surf-music-blues-mashup sort of vibe.

    Got a good haul on this trip and I could keep going, but I’ll stop here.

  4. I like his hat..from the Half-Earth Project/E.O.Wilson biodiversity Foundation. Paul Simon is listed as a major donor.

    1. Just a correction and additional information from my side. Paul Simon is not ‘only a donor’ he is far more than this regarding the E.O. Wilson Biodiversay Foundation. In the year of 2017 Paul Simon became a member of the Board of this Foudnation. After joined his ‘old pal’ Edward Wilson whom Paul Simon has known since the year of 2008) Paul Simon went on a tour. Only in the USA does not matter. In June 2017 Paul Simon gave – in a total amount of 17 concerts.All were held in the National Parks throughout the entire USA. The latest concerts Paul Simon gave twice – regarding this tour – took place at Queens in New York City. As far as I am able to remember. This tour ended on June 30th 2017. At that day it was a wonderful weather on that old Tennis Hill Forest Stadium Queens. The second concert – however -the concert planned for the next day and to be held on July 1st 2017 was a disaster. Not due to Paul Simon but due to a heavy kind of huricane; thunderstorms; storms and pouring rain. After hours of delay Paul Simon and his entire band took the stage when the hurricane, thunderstorm and pouring rain were gone – but not for long. Many people already left this latest concert but ‘The Figther – Paul Simon – remained’ to the end of this concert. Indeed Paul Simon offered all netto benefits he gained by giving these concerts to the E.O. Wilson Biodiversitay Organisation. From this time on and when he ended touring in September 2018 – sometimes Paul Simon will take the stage – again. Not for his ‘own benefits’ (Paul Simon dos not give any dime regarding the money) but for saving ‘Planet Earth’ and the endangeroud nature in Hawaii from were this vid has been taken……. with a ‘cap’ on Paul Simon`s head with an “E” that stands for the Edward Wilson Biodiversary Organsiation….

  5. This night Paul Simon addressed a video to
    ‘his fellow New Yorkers’:

    ‘I send you my love and concern and I dedicate this song to my fellow New Yorkers’.

    ‘In the spirit of The Boxer anniversary last week, here’s a very special, brand new performance by Paul Simon in dedication to New York’

    This time Paul Simon performed – the later added verse – he composed when the single ‘The Boxer’ was already released in the year 1969:

    ‘Now the years are rolling by me;

    They are rockin`evenly;

    I am older than I once was;

    And younger than`ll be that`s not unusual’

    No it is`nt strange after changes upon

    changes we are more or les the same;

    After changes we are more or less the same’

    Paul Simon – The Boxer (Acoustic Version March 2020)

    March 30, 2020

    1. We’ll get through this!

      “We’ll meet again
      Don’t know where
      Don’t know when
      But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
      Keep smiling through
      Just like you always do
      ‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away”

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