RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Simon & Garfunkel

Silent Night/7 O’Clock News

I often have difficulty finding time to reflect during the holidays, though it should be an important part of the season. As one year draws to a close and another looms, as the better part of the world celebrates salvation of one sort or another, and as we gather with our families, it seems that contemplation should play a role. However, in most of our Western world, the holidays are a whirlwind, a hurly-burly, almost a melee of materialism.

I debated a lot about what song to post this week—or whether to post a poem instead—and, in fact, I grew fearful of being a drag. So, I made myself go ahead and be a bit of a drag: it won’t hurt the crazy, over-the-top, excessiveness of the twenty-first century holiday if I take a little bit of air out of it. And I promise that Thursday I am cooking up something fun.

Simon & Garfunkel’s rendition of “Silent Night” with the overdub of a version of the evening news from 1966, for me, captures the ultra-mixed nature of the human condition. We have exaltation, and we also have depravity and war. We have the divine and we have the evil.

May we all, every last one of us, spend a little time on the side of peace this year.

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Simon & Garfunkel could write and perform the most melancholy songs on the planet, but they also happen to be responsible for what is perhaps the most genuinely happy pop/rock song around.

What makes this particular cheerful song so real to me is the way it describes one specific moment of joy. It’s a joy in life’s small pleasures, and a kind of joy that’s not flashy, that someone else might not even notice. It is not the type of “happiness” that’s designed to make someone else feel bad for not “having” it. It’s the kind of genuine happiness that Pascal Bruckner describes—it arises spontaneously out of a simple moment.

Paul Simon is a superb songwriter for the very reason that he never shies from specificity. He has written beautifully in many moods, all of which are fully inhabited in his songs.

I’m sharing “Feelin’ Groovy” today for a couple of reasons: 1) it’s raining steadily and so the song will warm me up a bit, and 2) we just bought tickets to see Paul Simon in concert in December. I have a long, long history with Simon & Garfunkel but have never seen either of them perform, so this makes this morning extra groovy for me. But if you are more in the mood to let the rain (or snow) settle into your soul today, here’s an alternative, “Kathy’s Song.” Both are true.