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Graceland (1987)

Paul Simon
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Rock music, World music, Mbaqanga, Pop music

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Graceland is the seventh studio album by American folk musician Paul Simon, released in August 1986.
It was a hit, topping the UK Album Chart, and reaching number three on the US Billboard 200. The album won the 1986 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, while the title song won the 1987 Grammy for Record of the Year. In 2007, the album was added to the United States National Recording Registry, along with another 24 significant recordings that year. It is included in many "best of" and "greatest" album lists including both Rolling Stone's and Time's.
Coming at a time when Simon's musical career was at something of a low ebb following the disappointing public response to Hearts and Bones, the project was originally inspired by Simon's listening to a cassette of the Boyoyo Boys instrumental "Gumboots", lent to him by Heidi Berg, a singer-songwriter with whom Simon was working (and who would later become an award-winning jingle singer and writer). Simon later wrote lyrics to sing over a re-recording of the song, which became the fourth track on the album.
Graceland features an eclectic mixture of musical styles including pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga. Much of the

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Tracks

4:01 The Boy in the Bubble
4:40 You Can Call Me Al
3:48 Homeless
2:45 Gumboots
4:19 Crazy Love, Volume II
3:13 I Know What I Know
3:17 All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints
5:48 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
4:50 Graceland
3:37 Under African Skies
2:52 That Was Your Mother
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Generally considers his solo work, especially the albums `Graceland` (1986) and `The Rhythm of the Saints` (1990), to be superior to his work with Simon & Garfunkel.

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After his breakup with Carrie Fisher, he was depressed for 2 years. In 1985, his comeback album `Graceland`, included songs about her

Rolling Stone

In his typically understated way, Paul Simon has been an ardent musical explorer since he went solo in 1972. His songs have incorporated almost every style of American music, including doo-wop, gospel, blues and jazz, as well as reggae, minimalism, salsa and South American folk. But because he's never based an entire album on any one of these, Simon is probably best known for pop hits like "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." On Graceland, his first album in three years, Simon completes his decade-long drift away from the pop mainstream with a topical dive into South African music, politics and controversy.

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Sputnik Music

Having split from Art Garfunkel in 1970 (one of many splits in fact for the legendary duo) Paul Simon embarked on a solo career which many sensed was destined for mediocrity. Despite some early successes with his self titled debut, by the mid eighties, this was a largely accurate act of clairvoyance. Yet having reach a crossroads in both his personal and public life a rejuvenated Simon createdGraceland in 1986 with the belief that despite his marriage falling apart and his career as a musician going much the same way, music and positivity could save it all. While many songwriters look deep within their mind at times of crisis (Springsteen’s Nebraska being an obvious example), Simon looked to the world and saw hope. People react to sadness in different ways and instead of focusing on his personal problems and wallowing in self pity, Simon turned to South Africa. With apartheid in full swing, Simon immersed himself in the life and sounds of the continent which proved the lyrical and musical inspiration for his magnum opus. Despite this Graceland is an album which extends far beyond the specifics of a time and place and is the work of true Universalist.

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Comments

Frank's picture
5

After a decade in the wilderness, Simon's songwriting gifts are reinvigorated with the energy of African music.