Paul Simon 12/2/21

Paul Simon maintains he’s at peace at allowing his creative life to end as he enjoys being 80. Simon talks about retirement — among many others topics — in his new audio biography, Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon, which was co-created with Malcolm Gladwell and New York Times journalist Bruce Headlam.

Simon shed light on when he knew it was time to cool things down, recalling, “After I finished the (2016) album Stranger To Stranger, it was like, literally a click that said, ‘I’m done. I think I’m done.’ I said, ‘I don’t think that I can do this any better than I’m doing it right now.’ I think I can do it just as well, but it takes me three years typically to make these kinds of albums. And since I don’t think I can make an album any better than I’m making it now, I think I’d rather spend my three years traveling.”

Simon went on to talk about what, if anything, the future might hold for him creatively: “I think the only logical thing that I can think of to make a future work better is to shut down the process of how I make things now, which is a process that has been evolving since I’m 12. I would have thought that it would have been something that would have been upsetting: ‘Whoa, you’re done.’ There’s something scary about that. But I didn’t feel upset at all. I felt fine — y’know fine.”

Although he’s rated as one of the most serious singer/songwriters of his generation, Paul Simon has long wished that his humor would’ve shined a bit more brightly in his material: [“Well, I always put some jokes into my songs, but sometimes they don’t. . . sometimes people don’t read ’em as jokes. I think that’s because most of the time people think of me as very serious, so they’re not expecting a joke to come. And also, there’s something about my voice that it doesn’t tip off a joke. It still sounds serious. I mean, it’s a quality that I wish I could have in my voice; a sense of irony or laughing.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . irony or laughing)

TL; DR

  • Paul Simon recalled how he knew his recording days were over in his new audio biography, Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon: “After I finished the (2016) album Stranger To Stranger, it was like, literally a click that said, ‘I’m done. . .  I don’t think that I can do this any better than I’m doing it right now.’ I think I can do it just as well.”

SIDE NOTES

  • Out now is the new book, Paul Simon FAQ – All That’s Left To Know About The Legendary Singer And The Iconic Songs.
  • The 400-page book, which is part of Backbeat’s excellent FAQ series, chronicles Simon’s entire career, and according to the press release, “features chapters dedicated not only to Simon’s music but also his stage, screen, and television work, his devotion to charity, and more.
  • The book also delves into “influences such as Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, and the ‘Child Ballads’ are examined, while his songwriting is documented not only through his own recordings but also those of the myriad other artists who have covered his compositions. (Paul Simon FAQ) goes behind the scenes of Simon’s groundbreaking work at the forefront of world music and follows him to his emotional 2018 final concert before his retirement from performing live.”