"Punky's Dilemma" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their fourth studio album, Bookends (1968).

"Punky's Dilemma"
Song by Simon & Garfunkel
from the album Bookends
RecordedOctober 5, 1967
Columbia Studio A
(New York City)


"Punky's Dilemma" was one of two songs (the other being "Overs") that Paul Simon offered to director Mike Nichols for his film The Graduate.[1] Nichols was not particularly taken with either, which led to Simon writing "Mrs. Robinson".[1]

The song was partially worked on by John Simon,[2] who was hired to "kick-start" the recording when Paul Simon had writer's block.[3] Morgan Ames, writer for High Fidelity magazine, attended a recording session during which "Punky's Dilemma" was being constructed, in October 1967.[2] The team spent over 50 studio hours recording "Punky's Dilemma," re-recording vocal parts, sometimes note by note, until they were satisfied.[4]


"Punky’s Dilemma" is breezy and minimal musically, with a soft jazz-style percussion and seemingly improvised guitar lines dominated by seventh chords.[5] It employs breakfast-food images to lampoon Hollywood and the film industry. It improbably takes an "abrupt left turn" in its third verse, when the singer begins to fantasize himself an admired soldier.[5]



  1. ^ a b Eliot 2007, p. 90.
  2. ^ a b Fornatale 2007, p. 66.
  3. ^ Fornatale 2007, p. 62.
  4. ^ Simon & Garfunkel interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  5. ^ a b Bennighof 2007, p. 39.


  • Bennighof, James (2007). The Words and Music of Paul Simon. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-99163-0.
  • Eliot, Marc (2010). Paul Simon: A Life. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-43363-8.
  • Fornatale, Pete (2007). Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends. Rodale. ISBN 978-1-59486-427-8.

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