Friday, April 9, 2010

In Restless Dreams I Walked Alone

I discover some of the best things in the middle of the night. So when I came across the 25th anniversary of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden, I watched as much as I could before Chris made me turn it off. Because I'm a loving wife, I let him turn it off while DVRing it in the other room at his insistence. What I wanted to scream was, "If it's too loud, you're too old!"

I have loved Simon & Garfunkel for as long as I can remember, thanks to the albums my mother had when I was young. They broke up the year I was born so it's not like they've been releasing new stuff but the songs they released between 1965 and 1970 are incredible. I have many favorites but when this is performed live, it's breathtaking in it's sadness. The funny thing about this concert is that it shows what a tiny little ego maniac Paul Simon is. He couldn't just let Garfunkel sing Bridge Over Troubled water by himself, like he always had. He had to sing a verse himself. It's better when AF sings it alone. He just has the better voice.

I always heard as I grew up how much these two hated each other and while I don't know if that's completely true or not it really is nice to see them together from time to time. The last time I saw them preform was when they opened the Grammies in 2003.

I don't listen to S&G everyday but I always come back to them. People would have you believe that Paul Simon is the brains of the operation but I don't believe that either. Garfunkel's voice is amazing and he almost looks pained when he sings. I don't think you'd look at him, a guy named Art and think that that voice would come from him. The song was written in 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy but I think Garfunkel steals the whole song with his voice. I think Simon wrote most of their songs but listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water and tell me you remember that Paul Simon is even there the whole way through.

One of my favorite things about this song in particular is that it reminds me of a summer I spent in Knoxville with my mother's sister and her family when I was young. It was around the time of the 1982 World's Fair because I remember the commercials and the complaining about all the work they were doing to prepare, including widening the streets. It was a pivotal summer in my youth because what was going on at home wasn't good for anyone. My sister had just started to turn to the dark side and no one could have foreseen what the upcoming years would bring but getting me out of there for a while was a stroke of genius. I had a good summer and I remember listening to this song as well as A Chorus Line Soundtrack often and I still love that damn thing too! But maybe the best thing about it is sitting here with my daughter while my son is at school and listening to it 15 times in a row with her in my lap. She's actually watching it and listening while she sucks her thumb. I hope she'll learn to appreciate this kind of thing before the teenage years hit and we both lose our minds.

I wonder about people who don't love songs like this. I wonder if they can't find beauty in this, where is it that they can find beauty?

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