11 May 2018

Song

I first heard the album "Sounds of Silence" when I was thirteen years old. What songs! What loveliness! Paul Simon was and probably still is a truly gifted songwriter. Part of his genius lay in the simple humanity of his lyrics. They connected in a pure and unfussy way with other human beings.

As a teenager it was the wordsmiths of the musical world who magnetised me... Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon. They were holding a mirror up to the world like great painters or poets of the past.

My favourite number from "Sounds of Silence" was "Kathy's Song". It was plaintive and it was about memory, love and lost love. You didn't know who Kathy was but you knew that Paul Simon had really loved her. Art Garfunkel gave that song wings to fly.

Here he is in concert with Paul Simon on guitar. They were performing "Kathy's Song" plenty of years after its composition.
And as for Kathy herself.  She was an English girl from Essex. She couldn't live with the stardom and instead opted for a more obscure life in North Wales where she worked as an administrator in a college. She  still enjoys a bond of friendship with Paul Simon who she first met when he was a young troubadour, scraping a living from folk club appearances up and down the length of Britain

This was Kathy -  Kathleen Chitty on her way to work one morning in 2014. I guess she has retired now. Even Kathys grow old.
Kathy appeared on the cover of this 1965 album

29 comments:

  1. I love the music of all of the above...of those you've mentioned.

    I think I wore Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits album (it was released in 1972) out to wafer thin.

    My mother told me once that every time she heard "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", she thought of me. Every time I hear the song, tears fill my eyes.

    As you say...wonderful lyricists...wonderful musicians.

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    1. The wheel turns. She thought of you when she heard that song and now you think of her...
      Sail on silver girl...
      Sail on by.

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  2. I love Paul Simon. He is, as you say, a great wordsmith and his music tugs at the heartstrings. Peter Gabriel is another musician whose work has always touched me deeply.

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    1. I love Peter Gabriel's rendition of "The Book of Love" which you can easily find on YouTube.

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  3. I love Simon and Garfunkel. I think that the I songs they wrote and performed were so powerful. They are indeed the soundtrack to my youth. I also loved John Denver and a Christian singer called Keith green, even though I have no faith, his songs were very moving. He was killed in a plane crash, like John Denver. My favourite song of his is about how we, as humans are like stained glass Windows of a church. Multi coloured and different from all angles. I can't remember the name of the song though!

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  4. I have googled it. It's on YouTube and its called stained glass! Duh! 😀

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    1. I will check that song out Christina. Thanks for recommending it.

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  5. My very first English singers' LP that I bought was their album "Bridge over Troubled Waters" My favourite song together with ”The Sound of Silence” is ”The Boxer”
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I agree - they are both magical songs. In teaching foreign languages, I think that much more use could be made of songs. It would help to motivate learners I believe.

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    2. Not long ago I downloaded "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by my favourite group, Il Divo. A totally different rendition of the song, and although it's sung in English, there are Spanish subtitles.

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  6. We, the ones of our generation, were so damn lucky to have all of that music. It was a time when creativity seemed to know no bounds and music was allowed to be whatever the artist wanted it to be. It tied us all together, the music did. It was there for all of us. Wasn't that something? Wasn't that just something?

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    1. You have captured something there with those words Ms Moon. It certainly was something. In those days our musical heroes did not belong to The Man.

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  7. Have you listened to 'the sound of silence' sung by 'Disturbed'. They are not the kind of group I would normally listen to but they sing this so beautifully, it almost brings tears to my eyes. Give it a go on Spotify I'm sure you'll love it.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Thank you for that tip Briony. I wonder if it is also on You Tube?

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    2. Yes. I just found it. I have heard it before. A brilliant revisiting.

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  8. I grew up listening to S&G with my dad in his Volkswagens, played on one of his 8-track tape players! "S&G's Greatest Hits" was one of the first albums I ever owned. I never knew the story about Kathy -- interesting!

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    1. Your dad obviously had refined musical tastes - just like me!

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  9. I was fortunate, in 1966, to see Simon and Garfunkel on stage at UC Davis. Just the two of them, and Paul's guitar. Art Garfunkel sang "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" a capella. His music was magic, it somehow went through our ears directly to our hearts. At the end of the song there was total silence for a few seconds. Then the audience took a deep breath, stood up, and cheered.

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  10. Great songs and lyrics. Perhaps it's my age and dodgy ears but today's music just doesn't compare.

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    1. I's that simplicity that really hits the spot. Well, that's what I think anyway.

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  11. Simon and Garfunkel have always been among my favorites. Their beautiful voices combined with some of the most perfect songs. We did not realize what a special gift they gave us and it has not been repeated as well since.

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    1. Did you know that they first met at the age of eleven? I think that that partly explains their special chemistry.

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  12. I hadn't heard "Kathy's Song" or the story behind it, so thank you for that addition to my education, YP. I was rather young when that album was released so I heard of it only what the radio station played. It was more in the background of life than in the forefront of my awareness, but I realize as I get older how talented they were.

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    1. I am delighted to have introduced you to "Kathy's Song" Jenny.

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  13. In your list of five artists, three of them are Canadian.

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    1. I forgot about Neil Young. All Canadians are great songwriters Red. When is your next album coming out?

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  14. Leonard Cohen and Simon and Garfunkel are my all time top favourites. Sad that I never saw them " in concert", but their music has enriched my life.

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    1. You are a woman with excellent taste Frances. I saw Leonard Cohen in concert in 1970 but never got to see Simon and Garfunkel.

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