Paul Simon is the second solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was released in January 1972, nearly two years after he split up with longtime musical partner Art Garfunkel. His first solo album was recorded in England in 1965 but remained unreleased in the U.S. (except for a brief period in 1969) until 1981, when it appeared in the 5-LP Collected Works boxed set. Originally released on Columbia Records, Paul Simon was then issued under the Warner Bros. label and is now back with Columbia through Sony. The album topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Japan and Norway and reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums. In 1986 it was certified platinum.[1]

Paul Simon
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 24, 1972 (1972-01-24)
RecordedJanuary to March 1971
GenreFolk rock
Paul Simon chronology
The Paul Simon Songbook
Paul Simon
There Goes Rhymin' Simon
Singles from Paul Simon
  1. "Mother and Child Reunion" b/w "Paranoia Blues"
    Released: 17 January 1972
  2. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" b/w "Congratulations"
    Released: May 1972
  3. "Duncan" b/w "Run That Body Down"
    Released: July 1972

History edit

Simon taught songwriting classes at New York University during the summer of 1971. Among the students he taught were two of the Roche sisters, Maggie and Terre, and singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester who remembers that Simon was nervous, listened to the students' songs and offered suggestions and criticism, often dissecting the lyrics and drawing comparisons with his own work while offering insights into his own work and sources of inspiration.[2]

Simon traveled to San Francisco to record some demos and began to work with different musical styles for a proposed solo album, including Latin music, jazz, blues, and reggae with the song "Mother and Child Reunion", which was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica. Guest musicians on the record included Stéphane Grappelli, Ron Carter, and Airto Moreira.

Several songs on the album, such as "Run That Body Down" (in which both "Paul" and "Peg" are mentioned by name) and "Congratulations", make reference directly or indirectly to his rocky marriage to Peggy (née Harper), which ended in divorce in 1975. Other themes include drugs and adolescence.

Reception edit

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Blender     [4]
Chicago Tribune    [5]
Christgau's Record GuideA+[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [7]
Entertainment WeeklyA[8]
The Guardian     [9]
Record Collector     [10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [11]
Uncut     [12]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1972, Robert Christgau said, "this is the only thing in the universe to make me positively happy in the first two weeks of February 1972."[13] In Rolling Stone that year, Jon Landau called it Simon's "least detached, most personal and painful piece of work thus far — this from a lyricist who has never shied away from pain as subject or theme."[14]

Critical praise was indeed widespread for this album, though some reviewers were put off by it. Noel Coppage, in Stereo Review, called it "undistinguished" and added, "I gather...this album is merely Simon's way of keeping his hand in while Garfunkel makes movies....I'm now wondering if Garfunkel's arranging work doesn't include sending Simon back to rewrite some of his songs before recording them."[15] Despite Coppage's panning, the other Stereo Review critics went on to give the album one of its "Record Of The Year" awards.[16] It was ranked number 268 on Rolling Stone's 2012 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and was ranked number 425 in the 2020 update.[17] It was ranked number 984 in All-Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd. edition, 2000).[18]

Track listing edit

All songs written by Paul Simon, except "Hobo's Blues" co-written by Stéphane Grappelli.

Side one
1."Mother and Child Reunion"3:05
3."Everything Put Together Falls Apart"1:59
4."Run That Body Down"3:52
5."Armistice Day"3:55
Total length:17:30
Side two
1."Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"2:42
2."Peace Like a River"3:20
3."Papa Hobo"2:34
4."Hobo's Blues"1:21
5."Paranoia Blues"2:54
Total length:16:33

12."Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71)2:29
13."Duncan" (Demo – San Francisco 2/71)2:48
14."Paranoia Blues" (Unreleased Version)3:14
Total length:08:31 42:34

Personnel edit

Track numbering refers to CD and digital releases of this album.

Production edit

  • Paul Simon – producer, arrangements
  • Roy Halee – co-producer, engineer (1–5, 7–10)
  • Phil Ramone – engineer (6)
  • Bernard Estardy – additional engineer (2)
  • George Horn – mastering at CBS Studios (San Francisco, California)
  • Leslie Kong – music contractor (1)
  • John Berg – design
  • Ron Coro – design
  • P.A. Harper – photography

Charts edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Superseventies review". Superseventies. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  2. ^ "Paul Simon – The neck of my guitar". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Paul Simon – Paul Simon". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Powers, Ann (November 2006). "Back Catalogue: Paul Simon". Blender. No. 53. New York.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (October 14, 1990). "The Evolution Of Simon's Diverse Solo Career". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Simon, Paul". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  8. ^ Browne, David (January 18, 1991). "Rating Paul Simon's albums". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Sweeting, Adam (August 6, 2004). "Paul Simon, Paul Simon". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Paul Simon: Paul Simon". Record Collector. London. p. 97. [H]is hunger to explore different musical styles is evident on his eponymous 1972 release...
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Paul Simon". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside Books. pp. 736–37. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Torn, Luke (October 2004). "St. Paul's Gospel". Uncut. No. 89. London.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 2, 1972). "Consumer Guide (24)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  14. ^ Landau, Jon (March 2, 1972). "Paul Simon". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  15. ^ STEREO REVIEW, July 1972, Vol. 28, #1, p. 84.
  16. ^ Stereo Review, February 1973, Vol. 30, #2, p. 81.
  17. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Rocklist". Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ " Paul Simon – Paul Simon". MegaCharts. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  22. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  23. ^ "21 世紀洋楽元年到来!? 2005年年間洋楽チャート大発表!". (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  24. ^ " Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  25. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  26. ^ Billboard – March 25 – 1973. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. March 25, 1972. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  27. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  28. ^ Allmusic – Paul Simon > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  29. ^ "Paul Simon, Paul Simon". Offizielle Deutsche Charts (in German). GfK Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  30. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1972" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  31. ^ "Top-ten of the Japanese Year-End Albums Charts 1970–1974" (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  32. ^ "American album certifications – Paul Simon – Paul Simon". Recording Industry Association of America.