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Thursday, November 19, 2020

A 'Rearranger' of Life's Elements

 “I suppose an artist takes the elements of his life and rearranges them and then has them perceived by others as though they were the elements of their lives. – Paul Simon

Born in the fall of 1941, Simon has been named one of the 100 greatest musicians who ever lived (by Rolling Stone Magazine) and was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. 

  And even those awards might pale in comparison to Time Magazine’s naming him one of the “100 People Who Shaped The World.”   Not bad for the son of immigrant parents who grew up playing stickball in the New York streets.  While most people believe he started his musical career in the early 1960s, his musical life really began in 1952 at age 11 when he and neighbor Art Garfunkel first performed together.  By age 12 they had “a neighborhood hit” with his song “The Girl for Me” (perhaps the only song by an 11-year-old enshrined in the Library of Congress).

That led to hundreds of songs – among them multiple Grammy Award winners and mega-hits like “Sounds of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme,” “Homeward Bound,” and, of course, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”    He also wrote a number of hit songs for other artists, like “Red Rubber Ball” for the Cyrcle and “Someday One Day” for The Seekers.

Simon’s poignant written words accompany some of the most memorable music ever written.  His are the words of our times and places and will resonate with us for generations to come.    
"Writing the right words," he told one interviewer, is “…like a puzzle … to express what the music is saying.” 

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