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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 17 April 2009

Old Friends & Lyrics

Simon & Garfunkel - Old Friends concert, 2003

My favourite songwriter since nearly 40 years is Paul Simon. I "discovered" him (Simon & Garfunkel) when I was 15, and I still listen to his/their records. The old LP:s I had, I now have on CD. (I still have the LP:s as well, but no record player to play them on...)

My previous post - "The Age Thing" - made me think of the lyrics to
Old Friends, from the album Bookends (1968)
(Paul, born in October 1941, was then 26)

Old friends,
Old friends,
Sat on their parkbench
Like bookends.

A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes
Of the old friends.

Old friends,
Winter companions,
The old men
Lost in their overcoats,
Waiting for the sun.

The sounds of the city,
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends.

Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a parkbench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.

Old friends,
Memory brushes the same years,
Silently sharing the same fears.

Time it was
and what a time it was.

A time of innocence,
A time of confidences.

Long ago... it must be...
I have a photograph,
Preserve your memories,
They're all that's left you...

I loved Paul's music when I was 15 and I still do - so that part of myself remains pretty well "preserved"! Some of the early songs also bring back lots of memories; for example of old friends with whom I used to listen to the records and interpret the lyrics back in the 70's.

But I also love that he has kept moving on as a musician. Come to think of it, isn't this really a great illustration of what I was discussing in the previous post: a musician still playing the old music, but also continuing to write new songs and trying out different kinds of music and rhythms...

On his 2006 album, Surprise, 65-year-old Paul also discusses the problems of growing old:

It's a blessing to wash your face in the summer solstice rain.
It's outrageous a man like me stand here and complain.
But I'm tired. Nine hundred sit-ups a day.
I'm painting my hair the colour of mud, mud okay?
I'm tired, tired. Anybody care what I say?
No! I'm painting my hair the colour of mud.
Who's gonna love you when your looks are gone? God will.
Like he waters the flowers on your windowsill.

(from the song "Outrageous")


Anonymous said...

Simon and Garfunkel were great. The did many a great song :)

California Girl said...

I never saw them together. I've seen Garfunkel and he's amazing. I think a Paul Simon concert would be fun and a Simon & Garfunkel concert even better.

Dr.John said...

I used to love his music but that was long ago in another place. My LP's are gone, my 45's are gone. I never was much for CDs.
Life goes on.
Still have old friends though and a few new ones.

DawnTreader said...

I never saw them live, but I now have both the Central Park Concert from 1981 and the Old Friends Concert from 2003 on DVD. I really enjoyed watching the Old Friends Concert, there is so much "warmth" in it.


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