Sunday, January 08, 2017

Paul Simon: That's Why God Made the Movies

Two LPs remind me of the summer that I moved into my own house.

The first is No Secrets by Carly Simon. The second is One Trick Pony by Paul Simon.

One Trick Pony was the soundtrack LP from a film starring Paul Simon that came out in 1980.

David Swanson writes that it is:
a movie about a once popular rock and roll singer trying to come to terms with his life in a new decade while his life, personal and professional, keep throwing roadblocks in his way — was entirely his project. 
Simon’s character, Jonah Levin, is the once-famous rocker trying to find his footing at the dawn of the ’80s. He wants to record a new album, but a less-than sympathetic record company and producer (played by Lou Reed), aren’t making things easy for him. At the same time, Levin is trying to resolve issues with his wife and child.
There are certainly autobiographical echoes here: Simon and Garfunkel had long split, and Paul Simon's run of wonderful singles from the early 1970s had dried up too.

Swanson continues:
Famed movie critic Roger Ebert liked the movie, but felt it was “being sold in all the wrong ways to Paul Simon fans,” even asking in his original review, “Does Paul Simon have fans anymore? He has lots of admirers, people who follow his music, but they’re not necessarily prepared to race out into the night to see this movie.” 
The film performed very modestly at the box office and didn’t stick around too long. The soundtrack LP, released at the same time as the movie, had a much better fate. With all songs written and performed by Simon, the album broke into the U.S. Top 20, selling over a half a million copies. The single, “Late in the Evening,” made the Top 10 and was nominated for a Grammy.
Late in the Evening is the stand-out song on the LP, but I was always drawn to this more reflective one.

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