Appreciating all that makes America special

“Graceland,” Paul Simon

Graceland, the Paul Simon album on www.greatamericanthings.net

Graceland was Paul Simon's seventh solo album, and his best. Uploaded by interactive.wxxi.org.

From the title track on, “Graceland” showcased Paul Simon’s willingness to experiment. Much of it was recorded in South Africa, bringing the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to an international audience. But lest it be stereotyped as Simon’s “African” album, it also includes Zydeco, Tex-Mex, The Everly Brothers, and Linda Ronstadt.

Paul Simon's album Graceland on www.greatamericanthings.net

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I remember listening to this album for hours on end, fascinated by unfamiliar rhythms. And by terrific lyrics. Among my favorites: “Why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is so hard. I need a shot at redemption. I need a photo opportunity,” (“You Can Call Me Al”). And: “Medicine is magical and magical is art, the boy in the bubble and the baby with the baboon heart,” (“The Boy in the Bubble”).

“Graceland” did well in the Grammy Awards, winning both Song of the Year for the title track and Album of the Year. Rolling Stone named it number 81 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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