Over The Bridge Of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011) marks the first single-CD collection ever to contain songs from both the Simon & Garfunkel era and Simon’s post-S&G solo recording career.
The songs are sequenced chronologically, beginning with “The Sound of Silence,” the first single from Simon & Garfunkel to work its way into the collective American psyche in late-1965. “America,” first included on S&G’s 1968 LP Bookends, is forever linked with the closing scene of 1968’s The Graduate, as the two star-crossed lovers run away together at the end of the film.
The Simon & Garfunkel era concludes with four songs from Bridge Over Troubled Water, one of the most celebrated album masterpieces of all time: “The Boxer,” “Cecilia,” “The Only Living Boy In New York,” and of course the momentous title tune, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
The Paul Simon solo era was launched in 1972 with a pair of singles that are airplay staples today as much as they were four decades ago, “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” and the Hot 100 Top 5 hit, “Mother and Child Reunion” (both from his eponymous debut LP, Paul Simon). Two of Simon’s most beloved and enduring LPs arrived in the ’70s: There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, the first of several albums that Simon co-produced with the legendary Phil Ramone (1973, with “American Tune”); and Still Crazy After All These Years (1975, winner of Grammy Award for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal, containing Simon’s Hot 100 #1 hit, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” and the gospel-tinged title tune).
The ’70s closed with his first compilation LP, Greatest Hits, Etc., which included previously unreleased song, “Slip Slidin’ Away,” a Top 5 hit featuring the country-gospel Oak Ridge Boys vocal quartet. The decade of the ’80s began with One-Trick Pony (1980, associated with the movie in which Simon starred, including the Grammy-nominated Top 10 hit, “Late in the Evening”). The title tune of 1983’s Hearts and Bones album, with its theme of two lovers (“one and one-half wandering Jews”) traveling on the road, harkened back to “America.”
The pivotal Graceland album of 1986, Simon’s first collaboration with the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was a breakthrough event whose impact on the worldbeat scene reverberates today. Graceland generated 5-times RIAA platinum sales and went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It is well-represented on Over the Bridge of Time with “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes” and “You Can Call Me Al.”
Graceland had a profound effect on its composer as well, whose ’90s explorations into reggae, worldbeat, Latin music, Cajun/zydeco, and beyond were part of the chemistry of his next album, The Rhythm of the Saints (1990), whose “Spirit Voices” featured vocals by its co-writer, the great Milton Nascimento. The Rhythm of the Saints received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year (for Paul Simon).
With much of the next decade devoted to the production of The Capeman, Simon’s 1997 Broadway musical, his next studio album as a solo artist did not arrive until a full ten years after its predecessor. But You’re the One (2000, represented by its opening track, “That’s Where I Belong”), was such a critical and commercial (Top 20) success that it received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. With that, Simon became the first artist ever nominated in the category over five consecutive decades (’60s-’70s-’80s-’90s-’00s).
Simon, who celebrated his 70th birthday in 2011, has continued to fascinate and inspire old and new fans alike with his most recent albums. 2006’s Surprise (“Everything About It Is A Love Song”), was recorded in New York, London and Nashville with Brian Eno.
In 2011, Simon released So Beautiful or So What (“Love and Hard Times”) to overwhelming critical acclaim. It is considered one of the best records of Paul Simon’s legendary career, receiving 4 Stars from Rolling Stone Magazine, with the Los Angeles Times proclaiming “So Beautiful or So What, steeped in Afropop and American folk forms, climbs some of the most resplendent summits of Simon’s career.”
01. The Sound of Silence
03. The Boxer
05. The Only Living Boy In New York
06. Bridge Over Troubled Water
07. Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard
08. Mother and Child Reunion
09. American Tune
10. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
11. Still Crazy After All These Years
12. Slip Slidin’ Away
13. Late In the Evening
14. Hearts and Bones
15. Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes
16. You Can Call Me Al
17. Spirit Voices
18. That’s Where I Belong
19. Everything About It Is a Love Song
20. Love and Hard Times
Over The Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective will be released on October 15, 2013.