11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released during the tense final years of apartheid, Paul Simon's Graceland introduced the buoyant textures of South African township music to vast international audiences. Simon’s collaborative genius—which calls on Los Lobos, Zydeco legend Good Rockin’ Dopsie, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo—invented a new musical language and earned a 1987 GRAMMY® for Album of the Year. The fractured narratives and emotionally fragile characters are unforgettable—whether it's the divorcé and his kid en route to Graceland, the unattainable girl with diamonds on the soles of her shoes, or the soft-in-the-middle hero of “You Can Call Me Al."

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released during the tense final years of apartheid, Paul Simon's Graceland introduced the buoyant textures of South African township music to vast international audiences. Simon’s collaborative genius—which calls on Los Lobos, Zydeco legend Good Rockin’ Dopsie, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo—invented a new musical language and earned a 1987 GRAMMY® for Album of the Year. The fractured narratives and emotionally fragile characters are unforgettable—whether it's the divorcé and his kid en route to Graceland, the unattainable girl with diamonds on the soles of her shoes, or the soft-in-the-middle hero of “You Can Call Me Al."

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

3.6 out of 5
14 Ratings
14 Ratings
Old Thom

Instant classic

1-2 stars? Foolish wee bunnies. There have been many songwriters capable of melding different genres, and some even different cultures. There have been many albums that paint a series of very different pictures while adhering to a single musical theme and style. Very few, however, manage both as well as Graceland - and almost none sound just as fresh and clever now as they did then. This is clever songwriting people, but more important still: it just sounds great.

About Paul Simon

There are musical storytellers—and then there’s the low-key but wildly ambitious Paul Simon, who copyrighted his first song with partner Art Garfunkel when they were in their early teens. Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1941, Simon mixed the mass appeal of ’50s rock ’n’ roll with the introspection of the singer/songwriter era, opening up a universe of emotional terrain previously unexplored in popular music. (Just listen to the playful poetry of 1968’s “Mrs. Robinson” or the existential ache of “The Sound of Silence”—songs you could whistle along to, or subject to rigorous literary analysis.) Though he was originally associated with folk, Simon is a remarkably eclectic artist, drawing variously on gospel and jazz, Brazilian batucada, and, perhaps most famously, South African township music. His landmark 1986 album, Graceland, helped build a bridge for his collaborators Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, and Miriam Makeba during the height of apartheid. For as uplifting as his music can be (think: the chorus chant of “Cecilia,” the rocksteady of “Mother and Child Reunion,” and the bright horns of “You Can Call Me Al”), at its heart is a profound bittersweetness. Embarking on his farewell tour in 2018, Simon celebrates an inimitable career spent mining themes of aging, separation, and loss with a muted reserve, suggesting that all things—good and bad—do pass.

HOMETOWN
Newark, NJ
GENRE
Pop
BORN
13 October 1941

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