For those of you who haven’t kept up with Paul Simon over the past few months, it’s a good news-bad news situation: He just released Stranger to Stranger, an album that people really seem to like, and he’s getting ready to tour behind it, but it looks like this will be his last hurrah, since he told The New York Times that he doesn’t plan on touring anymore following this last leg, saying that “showbiz doesn’t hold any interest for me.”
“It’s an act of courage to let go,” he said. “I am going to see what happens if I let go. Then I’m going to see, who am I? Or am I just this person that was defined by what I did? And if that’s gone, if you have to make up yourself, who are you?”
If this truly is the end of Paul Simon’s career, it’s been an illustrious one, having been part of one of the most successful folk acts of all time with Simon & Garfunkel, then launching a fruitful solo career that saw Simon bring world music influences to a broader audience.
As much as we’d love to see him press on and continue entertaining us for years to come, an anecdote from The New York Times piece illustrates that it probably is time for the aging singer to hang it up: “At 74, he often needs 15 hours of sleep at a stretch. The other day, performing in Philadelphia, he looked out from the stage and was surprised to see four mountains on the horizon. When he put on his glasses, he realized the mountains were actually big white tents. His voice has held up far longer than he had any right to expect but needs frequent days of rest.”
Read the rest of the excellent profile here, and reminisce in the comments about your favorite Paul Simon moments. Here’s one of ours (and everybody’s): “The Only Living Boy In New York” by Simon & Garfunkel.
Image: Matthew Straubmuller