A few things I didn’t notice about Art Garfunkel’s 1975 Columbia records release, Breakaway. 1) Richard Perry produced it (Mr. Perry is famous for his work with Harry Nilsson), and 2) the track My Little Town has Paul Simon on it, making it a legitimate Simon & Garfunkel song. Their last? Of that I’m not sure, but it’s a good day to find out. Thank you, 42 year old hype sticker!
All this time, I thought Mr. Garfunkel wrote Bridge Over Troubled Water, but apparently, it was Mr. Simon. Perhaps it was Mr. Garfunk’s singing that threw me off, but none-the-less, I learned a bit of music history today in prep for this post. S&G’s last, and most prolific single continues to linger in the lore of pop-classic-rock-radio euphoria, and it’s only been something like, 46 years…
Released 7 years after his first solo effort (1965’s The Paul Simon Songbook), 1972’s Paul Simon dropped almost two years after the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel, and features the infamous, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (one of my personal favorite Paul Simon solo tracks). A video was released for this song 16 years after its release (1988) and featured a surprising cast of unlikely characters: Biz Markie, Spud Webb, John Madden, Bid Daddy Kane, and Mickey Mantle… yes, Mickey Mantle. One doesn’t hear too much about Paul Simon these days, and that’s a shame. Take a few minutes out of your Wednesday and enjoy a catchy little tune from one of the best singer-songwriters of the 20th century. Here. Watch this.
Originally released on 1966’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by the great Paul & Art, Harpers Bizarre, Santa Cruz, CA’s own pop-rock (and Mt. Dew) favorites, staked their claim in the soil of hip-tified-radio-extravaganza with their cover of 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) from their debut album, 1967’s Feelin’ Groovy. Feelin’ Groovy? No, seriously… feelin’ pretty damn far-out? Hip your lobes to some Harp Biz, my friend.
Every so often the (pitcher beer ordering) mood for late 90s pop punk versions of mid 70s radio hits rolls down the cherry wood lane of life and lands a perfect strike (phew… that came desperately close to being a run-on sentence… I miss those). Times like this, it’s comforting (although not really) to know Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is good for a round, and some damn good classic covers.
This, their first full-length released on Fat Wreck Chords back in 1997, features pop punk-ified versions of John Denver, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and some other hit-making individuals of considerable musical talent. Covers, not unlike Social Security, are the third rail of musical politics. On one hand, paying homage to a classic can be somewhat of a respectful gesture, but on the other hand, these lazy, talentless bastards could just be riding the coattails of other, more innovative artists. Lucky for all involved with today’s post, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is comprised of a lucrative series of already established bands, so the results are smooth and well produced.
Vocals: Spike Slawson (of the Swingin’ Utters)
Lead Guitar: Chris Shiflett (of No Use for a Name and Foo Fighters… in that order, the order of importance)
Rhythm Guitar: Joey Cape (of Lagwagon)
Bass: Fat Mike (of NOFX fame, also the owner and operator of Fat Wreck Chords)
Drums: Dave Raun (of Lagwagon)
A pop-punk all-star band if ever there was one, Me First is deserving of a listen from fans of that 70s drawl, and bay area pop-punk. Now, set up those bumpers and let’s go bowling (courtesy of The Prudent Groove Lanes Across America Bowling League*).
*Does not exist
You wouldn’t know by listening to it, but it’s actually a pretty short song. Clocking in at only 1:49, April Come She Will is the shortest track on the 1966 masterpiece, Sounds of Silence. Although written by Paul, April’s sweet melodic melon collie was sung by Art. It must have been difficult for Mr. Garfunkel to go to work each day. I mean, sure, Art Garfunkel is great in his own right… great singer, great range, but his partner is Paul freakin’ Simon! One wonders how powerful Simon & Garfunkel would have been without Art. Maybe he was the man behind the successful curtain. Who knows?
April Come She Will is the prefect soundtrack for those moments when you just wished you were somewhere else. Alone, walking between silent, somber trees, or alone, walking amongst a sea of warm strangers, this dreary song reminds us that new eventually becomes old, and judging by the song’s length, how quickly that can happen. A kind of hopeless notion if you think about it.
May April offer you blossoming new beginnings, and may September not rob you of the aging beauty of those beginnings. Old doesn’t need to lose its alluring frenzy. We just need to be reminded of how new it once was. Here’s hoping September doesn’t forget to remind us.