Mother and Child Reunion

"Mother and Child Reunion" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the lead single from his second studio album, Paul Simon (1972), released on Columbia Records. It was released as a single on February 5, 1972, reaching No. 1 in South Africa, No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 57 song for 1972. It was at the time one of the few songs by a non-Jamaican musician to use prominent elements of reggae.[2]

"Mother and Child Reunion"
Paulsimonmother.JPG
Single by Paul Simon
from the album Paul Simon
B-side"Paranoia Blues"
ReleasedJanuary 17, 1972[1]
Recorded1971
Genre
Length3:05
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
Producer(s)
Paul Simon singles chronology
"I Am a Rock"
(1965)
"Mother and Child Reunion"
(1972)
"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
(1972)

BackgroundEdit

Simon was a fan of reggae music, and he listened to artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, and Byron Lee; he wanted to go to Kingston, Jamaica to record the song, as that was where Cliff had recorded his antiwar song "Vietnam" in 1970.[3] The title has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish called "Mother and Child Reunion" that Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu.[4] The song's lyrics were inspired by a pet dog that was run over and killed. It was the first death Simon personally experienced, and he began to wonder how he would react if the same happened to his wife, Peggy Harper. "Somehow there was a connection between this death and Peggy and it was like Heaven, I don't know what the connection was," Simon told Rolling Stone in 1972.[4]

ProductionEdit

The song was recorded at Dynamic Sounds Studios at Torrington Bridge in Kingston, Jamaica, with Jimmy Cliff's backing group. Guitarist Huks ("Hux") Brown and bass guitarist Jackie Jackson were also long-time members of Toots & the Maytals. Cissy Houston sang background vocals on the recording. The song was recorded before writing lyrics, which was unusual for Simon. He had previously hoped to make "Why Don't You Write Me" - a song recorded with Art Garfunkel on Bridge over Troubled Water - sound like a Jamaican song, but felt it ended up sounding like a "bad imitation." Simon was instructed by the musicians on the differences among reggae, ska, and bluebeat. He felt awkward at first because he was "the only white guy there and I was American." Simon later overdubbed piano and vocals to the track back in New York.[4]

PersonnelEdit

Chart historyEdit

Other renditions by SimonEdit

Simon performed the song on his 1974 live album Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin'.

CoversEdit

Euro-Caribbean vocal group Boney M. recorded a cover of "Mother and Child Reunion" for their 1984 album Christmas with Boney M. However, the album was released only in South Africa. Boney M. producer and vocalist Frank Farian decided to add in other notable musicians to the song, and re-released it in 1985 as a charity single for aid to Ethiopia, in the spirit of earlier charity singles "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are the World". This single reached the top 10 in several European countries. The song was credited to Frank Farian Corporation, a group that would go on to release albums as the supergroup Far Corporation. The single was also included as a bonus track on the 2007 re-release of Boney M.'s 1985 album Eye Dance.

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Paul Simon - Mother And Child Reunion [Mono]" – via www.45cat.com.
  2. ^ David Vlado Moskowitz (2006). Caribbean Popular Music: An Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 139. ISBN 9780313331589.
  3. ^ Spencer Leigh (2016-09-22). Simon & Garfunkel: Together Alone. p. 112. ISBN 9780857161512.
  4. ^ a b c Jon Landau (July 20, 1972). "Paul Simon: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone (113). Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 17 (7). April 1, 1972. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Musicline.de – Paul Simon Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mother and Child Reunion". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  11. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 17, 1972 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  12. ^ "Charts.nz – Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  14. ^ Brian Currin. "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (S)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 499. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  17. ^ "Paul Simon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 219.
  19. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, April 1, 1972". Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc)|format= requires |url= (help). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1972". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  23. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1972". Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2017.

SourcesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Lacitis, Erik (October 7, 1986). "Dig It: 254 Nonstop Hits! (This Offer is Not Available in Many Stores)," The Seattle Times.

External linksEdit