Posts Tagged 'simon and garfunkel'

Covers Day 2

Today I have two songs for you and again we are using one group, but this time I am choosing two covers of this group.

Simon and Garfunkel’s songs have been covered quite a lot and you can find recordings from everyone from Willie Nelson to Charlotte Church. But this is best and worst, so I have to fine a great cover and a poor cover.

One reason I think covers don’t usually work is that a songwriter usually writes a song in a particular style and the song works in that style. Bands often change the style of the song for a cover. It does not take genius to figure out that if a song worked in a particular style, DON’T MESS WITH IT! (Remember in the Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond, when he sold the song Love on the Rocks to a famous rock singer, the song did not work as a fast hard rock song, but as a slow ballad!)

So here are covers of two S&G songs. The poor one is poor because of changing the style of the song, and the good one (I will comment more on that one) is good because it keeps the style.


First is one of my favorite S&G songs, America (I cannot believe anyone would cover this one! You cannot mess with perfection!) Covered by YES.

Second, for your listening enjoyment is a cover of the underappreciated S&G song Richard Cory. This is a rarely covered song, but it was covered by none other than Wings in their Wings over the World Tour in 1975-1976. Denny Laine sang lead here but Sir Paul is in there too. This clip is from a sound check in Australia.

Song of the day

Yesterday I started looking at songs that celebrate America.  I choose Born in the U.S.A. not because it is a celebration of America, but because it is a celebration of the rights that we have here.  Today I want to move to music that does celebrate America.

I am choosing a pair of songs by Paul Simon.  The first is a song that has appeared in song of the day a long time ago.  In 1968 Simon and Garfunkel released their album Bookends which included the song America.  This is a great song that describes a journey of two companions in search of America.

The second song is from 1973, a few years after Simon and Garfunkel broke up.  This song, American Tune, was Simon’s writing his feelings about our country after Nixon was elected President.  Again, it is more protest than celebration, but in the end the song tells us “still tomorrow is going to be another working day…”  The world will continue to spin and America will still be here.

Both of these clips are from the 2004 Simon and Garfunkel Old Friends Tour (which I was able to see).  They still sound great and you can see that American Tune was meant to be sung by both of them.


Song of the day

Yesterday I suggested that I wanted to talk about male singing voices. It seems to me that in much of popular/rock music there are just not that many “great” male voices. There are some great singers, some great musicians, etc, but when you get down to basics, they just don’t have the best voices.

Good examples are some of my favorite artists. Billy Joel, to me a music god, but not a great voice. Harry Chapin is another of my gods with perhaps one of the worst singing voices of recording artists (I know he is dead and I should not speak ill of the dead, but it is the truth, and if he were alive I don’t think he would disagree!). Even the holiest of holy, The Beatles did not have the greatest of voices (although they are not at all near the bottom of the list).

I have long given thought to what male artists have great voices. I have discussed two here so far. One is Art Garfunkel. Listen to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and you will not only be blown away by the amazing song, but by his powerful and clear voice. He has a remarkable range and can sing almost anything. The other singer I mentioned is Dennis De Young of Styx. A very different style than Garfunkel, but nonetheless a wonderful voice.

For my song of the day, I am going to add another name to my great male voices list. And please, no snickering! John Denver. I have always liked John Denver, probably because my mom listened to him so much. He had a remarkable way with words, and his voice can only be described as sweet sounding. He skillfully combined country/western music with pop music and he crossed over to the pop charts more than almost any other country singer (in fact, I don’t really consider him a country singer).

He had many great songs, but I think that my favorite is one called “Looking For Space.” Rather than speak about it, here is a link to the lyrics.  I would love comments with other candidates of best male voice!

This video contains two songs, and “Looking For Space” is at the 3:30 mark.

Song of the day

Well, since I picked a Paul Simon Song yesterday, by the end of the day and this morning I dialed up the “Old Friends” boxed set on my ipod (can you call it a boxed set when it is on your ipod?)

Simon and Garfunkel are perhaps the best male duo in modern musical history. They sang so well together, and it was as if they were just meant to be. Their harmonies were perfect and I consider Art Garfunkel perhaps one of the best male singing voices (perhaps more on male voices tomorrow).

To pick a song from S&G is almost impossible, there are just too many good ones. As I listened on the train, one song popped out, and perhaps it was because it brought back a memory. When I was in USY, I remember being in someone’s living room and my friend Sheryl (aka wrekehavoc) playing “America” on the piano (maybe it was her living room, I cannot recall). That memory sticks out because it was back then that my love for music began and moments like that helped me to learn that I have some small talent at singing (more on that another time).

So, today’s song is America by Simon and Garfunkel.


Song of the day

Put musical talent together with great and often meaningful songwriting and we have Paul Simon. I have always loved Paul Simon from his start with Art Garfunkel to today. I think he is one of the most talented singer/songwriters out there.

Picking a song from Paul Simon is hard as there is hardly a bad song among them. However, the best album, I believe, is Graceland. This album blends African sounds with Paul’s own style and is remarkable. This album helped to bring world music to the forefront.

To pick one song from this album is hard, but I will choose the title song, Graceland.  As an extra bonus, also from the Graceland album, one of best video’s ever made.


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