Paul Simon Plays Song He Hates for Oregon Fans
Paul Simon’s audience in Portland, Ore., this past Saturday got a rare view of the artist performing a little self-flagellation, Simon-style.
According to Jambase, during a rendition of “The Cool, Cool River” (a track from his 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints), Simon forgot the lyrics. This was odd, not because a 76-year-old man forgot the words to a 28-year old song, but because it is a widely held assumption that most performers of Simon’s age use some sort of teleprompter to help them avoid this kind of thing.
Anyway, someone in his band assisted him in getting back on track, and he finished the song, a little embarrassed, but none the worse for wear. That’s when the really weird stuff began.
“Because I made a mistake and forgot the lyrics to that song,” he told the crowd, “I’m going to penalize myself. I’m going to sing one of my songs that I loathe.”
A roadie handed Simon an acoustic guitar. He turned to the crowd and said, “This will teach me, because I just — I hate this song.”
He then played a brief version of “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” with a few band members joining in. Last year, Simon revealed on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that he “loathes” the song, which was first heard on Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. It is not known whether Simon punished himself further after the show was finished.
You can see a video of the entire scene below. Simon's talk with the crowd starts at the 8:48 mark, if you just want to skip to that.
Simon is now on the U.S. leg of his Homeward Bound farewell tour, which kicked off last week in Seattle.