Paul Simon is one of my favourite songwriters. In my opinion, along with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, he is one of the best lyricists of the past 40-50 years. His songs with his singing partner Art Garfunkel (as Simon and Garfunkel) are probably nearly as well known as The Beatles’ songs. I suspect much of his solo work is less well known.
I blogged last summer about his seminal album, the amazing Graceland, which is generally recongised as his greatest piece of work. And Paul Simon himself feels his best ever song, of the hundreds he has written, is the song Graceland on that album.
Today I am sharing one of my favourite Paul Simon solo songs, “American Tune“. I am not sure how well known this one is, it is on his 1973 album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon“. Until about 14 months ago I had only ever heard the live version of this song which is on Paul Simon’s greatest hits album “Greatest Hits etc.“, but upon my first hearing it many years ago it quickly became one of my favourite songs by him. Last year I finally got around to buying “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon“ and heard the studio version for the first time. In addition, the “new” version of the album that I bought also had some bonus material, which included a demo version of “American Tune”
These are the lyrics to this wonderful song.
Many is the time I’ve been mistaken, and many times confused
Yes and I’ve often felt forsaken, and certainly misused.
Ah but I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be bright and Bon Vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home.
And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease.
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees.
But it’s alright, it’s alright. For we’ve lived so well so long.
Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on,
I wonder what’s gone wrong, I can’t help but wonder
What’s gone wrong.
And I dreamed I was dying. I dreamed that my soul rose
unexpectedly, and looking back down at me, smiled
reassuringly, and I dreamed I was flying.
And high up above, my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty, sailing away to sea.
And I dreamed I was flying.
We come on a ship they call the Mayflower,
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune.
Oh and it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.
You can’t be forever blessed.
Still, tomorrow’s gonna be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest,
That’s all, I’m trying to get some rest.
This YouTube clip is of Paul Simon performing the song on Parkinson, a long running chat show in the Disunited Kingdom.