Fifty years ago today, Paul Simon released his first post-Simon & Garfunkel solo album, a self-titled effort that arrived almost two years after the lauded folk-rock duo’s final full-length record, Bridge over Troubled Water.
Paul Simon featured two hits singles, the reggae-flavored “Mother and Child Reunion” and the catchy, samba-influenced “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” which reached #4 and #22, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album itself peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell more than a million copies in the U.S.
Simon wrote 10 of the album’s 11 songs by himself, while one tune, “Hobo’s Blues,” was co-written with legendary jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who also plays on the track.
The song “Duncan” features the Paris-based Andean folk group Los Incas, which also contributed to the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel hit “El Condor Pasa (If I Could).” “Duncan” was issued as the Paul Simon album’s third and final single, but stalled at #52 on the Hot 100.
Paul Simon landed at #425 on Rolling Stone‘s 2020 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” As the magazine noted, “Simon’s first solo effort after the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel had plenty to prove, and it did, with a tour de force of songcraft, virtuosic guitar picking, upper-register vocal dazzle, and vivid storytelling.”
Here’s the album’s full track list:
“Mother and Child Reunion”
“Everything Put Together Falls Apart”
“Run That Body Down”
“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”
“Peace Like a River”
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