I have never been to Graceland. Hell, I have never been to Memphis. I’d like to go… but as of yet, it has not happened. Like many things, that goes right onto the “Someday” list. What scares me, is that the list is growing, and time is passing. It’s not a bucket list per se, but… well… maybe it is… and maybe I better get moving.
Paul Simon – Graceland
I was at Northwestern when this one came out in 1986 and it took me (and a lot of us) by storm. This was another of the first CDs I ever purchased and it played quite a bit in my frat house room… I am pretty sure it was playing from a lot of the rooms in the old Sigma Nu house, that is sadly no longer there. Well, it’s there but is now a dorm since the frat got kicked off campus.
Graceland was and is just one of those ubiquitous albums.
While I now love Afrobeat and some of the musical influences he captures on this album, I do not think I had really been exposed to them until Graceland came out. He was able to take us into another world, and bring music a world away into the realm of Rock n’ Roll. I still love this CD and did from the day I got it. I remember seeing him play the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago… great show.
Lots of controversy with this one, that I only picked up on later… Did he break the cultural boycott by recording in South Africa? Did he steal “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints” from Los Lobos, who recorded the song with him? Some of the articles and stories about it are crazy, so who the heck knows.
The facts are this:
This is Paul Simon’s seventh studio album and it “won the 1986 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, while the title song won the 1987 Grammy for Record of the Year.” Someone has to explain that to me… I remember U2 winning Grammys for the same album over multiple years… Never understood that…
“In 2007, the album was added to the United States National Recording Registry.” That says something.
This is one of my all-time favorite records… one of those rare, start to finish, beginning to end gems… Just look at part of the song list:
“The Boy in the Bubble,” “Graceland,” “I Know What I Know,” “Gumboots,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” You Can Call Me Al” (with one of the best known bass riffs ever) and “Under African Skies.”
This album is delicious! So go and relive it… and at least we can all go to Graceland in our mind.. FOR NOW!