On the singer-songwriter's 70th birthday, check out the tracks you don't already know by heart
"How terribly strange to be 70," Paul Simon wrote on "Old Friends," a track from his 1968 album with Art Garkfunkel, Bookends. He was in his in his late 20s when he wrote that song, and now, more than four decades later, he is experiencing the strangeness himself: Today is Simon's 70th birthday.
Earlier this year, when his new album So Beautiful or So What came out, we published a list of Simon's best "deep cuts": songs that aren't as well known as his big hits like "Sounds of Silence" and "The Boxer" but are worth getting to know nonetheless. Here they are again (and note how appropriate the last one is today):
"Duncan" from Paul Simon
Some of Simon's most famous songs are travelogues, from "America" to "The Boxer" to "Graceland." "Duncan," from Simon's first album after the Simon & Garfunkel breakup, is in the same tradition: It tells the story of Lincoln Duncan, the son of a Canadian fisherman who moves to New England. And it features one of the most arresting opening lines in all of pop music.
"One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor" from There Goes Rhymin' Simon
This song is all about atmosphere: Lyrically, it's an After-School-Special-worthy tune about the importance of being a good neighbor. But the sinister piano scales that appear throughout, coupled with Simon's anguish-infused vocals, make this song a moody reminder that no man is an island.