As I mentioned yesterday, my brother and I were discussing the greatest American songwriter. He settled on Paul Simon while I thought Bob Dylan. We both agreed that, in our opinions, the greatest songwriter of our time was John Lennon. Wifey, said that Sir Paul McCartney is a better songwriter. To which both my brother and I replied (almost in unison); “silly little love songs”.
Look at the list of songs John has either written or co-written, mostly with Sir Paul as a member of the Beatles. The lists are quite long. And today, 9 October, just happens to be his birthday. He would have been 79 today.
Some of my favorites (in no particular order);
And Your Bird Can Sing
Baby’s In Black
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – my brother doesn’t care for the song due to the political aspects. I like it since Christmas doesn’t start until I hear this played.
Fame (Yes, the David Bowie song)
The Ballad of John and Yoko
I could go on and on. But the lists are linked above if you wish to check them out. The video below is just a representative sample of John’s talent. It’s a Lennon-McCartney written piece, and showcases George Harrison on guitar. This track, along with Day Tripper are the guitar riffs I hear in my head all the time.
One of things my brother and I talk about, a lot, is music. We talk about individual songs, musicians, bands, and songwriters. Anything and everything;
One of the discussions we had not long ago was “Who is the greatest American Pop songwriter?” He popped this question on me while we were painting my living room, so neither of us were going anywhere soon. As qualifiers, this person had to have longevity, numerous hits, and also had to be a performer. He also threw a curve saying “You’ll never guess who I think it is.” I had to think this over.
Some names came to mind immediately; Stephen Stills, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Carole King, Brian Wilson. We threw around some other names, but they didn’t have the longevity factor; Dan Fogelberg and Jim Croce, even Buddy Holly. The list went on for some time. My choice was Bob Dylan.
Finally I had to ask who is choice was. “Simple” he says, “Paul Simon”. And he was right; that name never came to mind. But why not? He has written so many great songs.
The duo split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity, and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music, which sold 14 million copies worldwide on its release and remains his most popular solo work. Simon also wrote and starred in the film One-Trick Pony (1980) and co-wrote the Broadway musical The Capeman (1998) with the poet Derek Walcott. On June 3, 2016, Simon released his 13th solo album, Stranger to Stranger, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart and the UK charts.