SONG OF THE DAY – “THE BOY IN THE BUBBLE” by Paul Simon

March 6, 2013

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It’s Throwback Thursday! Today’s #tbt song is from Paul Simon’s 1986 album, Graceland.

I had a fabulous concert experience on Tuesday night and wanted to share that with you today. Paul Simon and Sting were incredible! The show brought back so many memories as these two musicians are legends, and absolute favorites of mine.

Paul Simon spoke first when he welcomed the crowd “to our little experiment.” The concert ran for nearly three hours, alternating between the two artists on stage performing together, and then each one alternately performing on their own. I could not believe how quickly the time passed and how flawlessly each transition segmented into the next. When they first took the stage, it was absolutely incredible to see the two of them standing up there together with 15 backup musicians behind them. It was quite a spectacle! What brought the two artists together? Well, I think they are two of the greatest singer-songwriters in history, they both have had extremely successful solo careers after breakups with their original bands, they both have a love of world music, and they both have a tremendous amount of mutual respect and admiration for each other. Of course the experiment worked!

So many amazing moments in those three hours, but here are a few favorites from the show:

  • Sting and Paul Simon performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” together, alternating verses. Wow! One of my favorite songs made even better than the original. Sting hit the high notes and it was amazing … in fact, Paul Simon even applauded.
  • At one point during the show Sting sent Simon off the stage so that he could “have a private conversation about you” with the audience. He then told us that “Paul has been my teacher and mentor for many, many years” and then he recalled his first trip to America with The Police and said that this song reminded him of that time, at which point he broke into a stripped down version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, “America.” Beautiful!
  • So many songs that Paul Simon performed just brought that feeling of nostalgia, reminding me of my childhood and my dad playing the album at home. One of these moments came when he sang “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” While my friend and I were dancing and singing along, I looked down two rows at a group of older teenage girls and one of them was holding up her phone to Shazam the song. I laughed out loud! Not sure if that made me feel old or if I was just astounded she didn’t know the song.
  • I was commenting to my friend about how amazing Sting looked (And he really did!). He doesn’t appear to have aged a day and when he took off his jacket, his arms were “ripped!” Her reply, and the funniest line of the evening, … “He looks like Mr. Clean!”
  • Roxanne” … enough said. The song always reminds me of my husband as he used to sing it at the top of his lungs when we rode up the chairlift at Snowbird as teenagers.
  • I hate it when I find myself in the deadbeat section at a concert, but we found ourselves there on this particular evening. I loved having a friend there with me who was not afraid to get up and sing & dance along with me, even though we were the only two in our section. Lame! How do you sit down during a performance of “You Can Call Me Al,” Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” or “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard?” Answer: You don’t!

Today’s song was the first track off Paul Simon’s groundbreaking 1986 Graceland album. I loved the performance of this song on stage Tuesday night and thought that it needed to be shared. I love the rhythm and sounds of the music. Simon wrote the lyrics to the song in American after he returned home from South Africa where he immersed himself in the music and recorded this song with South African musicians whose original song he based it on. Simon gave songwriting credits to the two South African musicians – Simon and Forere Motloheloa. It is an amazing song with a unique and beautiful sound – I love the accordion. I have been listening to it on repeat since Tuesday night. I hope you enjoy it.

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