Paul Simon

Oct 29, 1988

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  1. 1 Interview Part 1 23:23
  2. 2 Interview Part 2 30:37
  3. 3 Interview Part 3 30:16
  4. 4 Interview Part 4 13:08
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In October of 1988, Paul Simon released Negotiations and Love Songs, a collection of greatest hits from his first six solo albums (Paul Simon through Graceland). In support of the compilation, Paul stopped in to record this interview with Scott Muni in Manhattan to discuss every song on the album. As such, this recording provides a wonderful encapsulation of some of his most highly respected songs from the mouth of the writer himself, including insights into the lyrics, inspirations for the musical compositions, and stories behind the recording sessions. While the chat focuses mostly on these songs, there are also great stories about some of his earliest musical influences, his high school years with Art Garfunkel, and his current charity work.

Part 1
00:00 - Intro / Negotiations and Love Songs
01:22 - Preference for the sound from vinyl over cassettes and CDs
04:11 - A video for "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (who's in it, where)
05:25 - Introduction to "Me and Julio"
06:08 - Segue into "Mother and Child Reunion"
07:15 - "Mother and Child Reunion" (going to Jamaica)
08:02 - "Why Don't You Write Me" / borrowing lines from old songs / ska
09:10 - "Mother and Child" / Roy Halee, Toots and the Maytalls, learning what reggae is
10:04 - "Me and Julio" / Brazilian percussion, world beat
10:44 - Hearing about ska in England in the 60's / Lonnie Donegan
12:15 - A hurricane in Jamaica / the New York Children's Health Project
15:55 - Charity concert for the Children's Health Fund / challenges for the future
18:15 - Intro to "Something So Right" (a strange way to befriend Quincy Jones)
22:36 - Intro to "St. Judy's Comet"

Part 2
00:00 - Graceland / how he approaches albums
01:35 - Recording There Goes Rhymin' Simon / The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
03:38 - Intro to "Loves Me Like a Rock" / The Dixie Hummingbirds
04:45 - Intro to "Kodachrome" / trademarking
07:10 - Working with Allen Toussaint
08:32 - The city of New Orleans and its music
10:46 - The effect of television and industry on music: dilution of culture
12:10 - Finding culture as a kid from Queens / reminiscing about wholistic radio
13:40 - Elvis Presley's great contribution to music
15:00 - Alan Freed's great contribution to music (and to Scott)
17:33 - Intro to "Ain't That a Shame" / Pat Boone and Fats Domino
19:48 - Intro to "Have a Good Time" / Shampoo, music school, Phil Woods' solo
22:05 - Intro to "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" / Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Richard Tee, Eric Gale
24:35 - Reaction to winning a Grammy
25:38 - Intro to "Still Crazy After All These Years"
26:48 - Reluctance to being called a poet / writing lyrics / Chuck Berry's influence
29:26 - Aural memory's effect on emotion

Part 3
00:00 - Covers of "Hazy Shade of Winter" / other covers
01:50 - Intro to "Late in the Evening" / Buddy Holly and the Crickets
03:53 - Old records / singles vs. albums
05:05 - Early influences: doo-wop, gospel
06:47 - Tom & Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel) at age 14 / high school heroes
08:22 - Art's influence on Paul's career / his dad's influence
09:48 - A session with the Everly Brothers (individually)
10:50 - The folk scene in the 1960's: Bleecker and MacDougal, move to England, Bob Dylan
14:45 - Intro to "Slip Slidin' Away" / The Oak Ridge Boys
16:00 - Intro to "Hearts and Bones"
18:40 - Intro to "Train in the Distance"
20:14 - Intro to "Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War"
22:40 - Intro to "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" / Youssou N'Dour
24:25 - Accolades and awards for Graceland / approach to the album
27:22 - Intro to "You Can Call Me Al"
29:50 - Thank you / outro

Part 4: Outtakes
00:00 - Taking over Alan Freed / a retirement home for rock n' rollers
02:05 - Influences on current music, Bruce Hornsby, hearing new acts
04:32 - The obscuring of 50's music / The Stray Cats
06:05 - Reminiscing about John Lennon
07:39 - Old records / doo-wop
10:05 - Keeping Negotiations and Love Songs narrowly focused
11:05 - Leaving CBS Records / a fight with Walter Yetnikoff
11:55 - The Concert in the Park