Monday, March 11, 2013

"Old Friends/Bookends"

I love this picture. Some days, I can't take my eyes off of it. There was a time when this seemed very improbable, but then so did a reunited Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You Babe" on the David Letterman show, and that happened.

This is something I had written back in November:

Another one for me is Simon & Garfunkel's "Old Friends/Bookends," a masterpiece of music and storytelling if there ever was one.  Of course, the backstory of Paul & Art adds to the drama. Their happiness, their sorrow. Everyone can relate. But it's the strings that really say it all, beginning at the very end of "Old Friends" and continuing into "Bookends." That moment of chaos, the swelling of emotion that slowly and sadly winds down and resolves, is one of the most powerful stretches of pop music ever recorded. In less than a minute and without one word sung, we live a lifetime. It never fails to tear me up.

Forgive me for once again revisiting "Bookends" and telling you about it.  It's just more powerful than I am.


buzzbabyjesus said...

"I've been listening to music with all I've got for over 40 years."

Nicely put. And I believe you.

wardo said...

That is a great photo. Who knows what they're arguing about?

jeff k said...

Artie: you stole my steelie marble when were five. give it back.
Paul: "just for that you're not touring with me for another ten years."

A walk in the woods said...

Amen. I've seen a lot of great concerts through the years - about 700 total - because like you I too have been listening to music intently for some 40 years.

And in all those years, if I had to pick one favorite concert, it would be Simon & Garfunkel in Atlanta with the Everly Brothers in December 2003. And somewhere or other in my Top 10 would be Paul Simon in 1986.

What a great, great body of work. Not many artists have gone their whole career with almost no bad songs, and Paul Simon's one of those.

Sure, "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" is wack, as are maybe 4-5 other Paul songs, but that's a pretty tight list over some 50 year career.

And Artie sure can sing...

Noam Sane said...

Especially poignant having seen Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, looking very old indeed. His line readings - brief as they were - were atrocious.

My 7th grade English teacher used 'Save the Life of my Child' for a lesson one day, and the next day I dragged my mom to the dept store to buy this album. I've loved it since.

Chris Collins said...

I love Simon and Garfunkle. I think Paul Simon is one of our greatest songwriters ever. But I can't ever shake the fact that they both look like they'd be really, really scared of a spider.

Ken D said...

"How very strange to be seventy..." In fact he's now seventy-two. And based on "So Beautiful or So What" still has the gift.

Agree its a superb track on a superb album. But for me, the greatest song about growing old is John Prine's "Hello In There."