Paul Simon Breaks Down His Lyrics

This year alone we’ve heard Paul Simon covered by David Byrne, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Conor Oberst, and Smashing Pumpkins. Perhaps those folks would like a copy of Paul Simon’s Lyrics 1964-2008, a new book that collects the words to all his songs, from Simon & Garfunkel’s 1964 debut through “Love In Hard Times,” a new song performed at this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival. On Friday Rhymin’ Simon discussed his songbook with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Guitar in hand, he broke down tunes including “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” composed to teach his son about rhymes, and “Mrs. Robinson,” which would’ve been called “Mrs. Roosevelt” if it wasn’t for Graduate director Mike Nichols (Diane Sawyer’s husband, incidentally).

David Remnick’s introduction to Lyrics can be read here and if you’re in NY, you can visit Paul at the Union Square Barnes & Noble Thursday at 7 PM. He’ll discuss his work in a conversation with journalist Katherine Lanpher. It’s free. Tell him we say hi, Al.

Grizzly Bear – “Graceland” (MP3)
Conor Oberst – “Kodachrome (Live)” (MP3)