I won’t bother replicating or going into the short conversation through Twitter I had about Paul Simon. Suffice to say, he came up, and then my head went somewhere, and I needed to type it out while it was still relatively relevant.
Most people are familiar with his more popular works, such as the “Graceland” album, or his work as part of the Simon & Garfunkel duo. I like those just fine, really, pretty much his entire body of work. I grew up listening to his music (mostly Simon & Garfunkel) but it was the album “Hearts And Bones” that turned me into a fan.
I remember a television special with several performances as well as a couple of music videos, focusing on the album. It was 1982 or so, and I was just really beginning to be aware of music on my own terms. I mean, I heard the radio, I knew the latest single from Queen, Billy Squire, Sheena Easton, and was aware of the importance of The Beatles and Elvis Presley. There was something about that television special, and the music contained on it, that really spoke to me.
To this day, “Hearts And Bones” is one of my favorite Paul Simon albums. It’s got a very personal tone, and the sounds on it are not necessarily ground breaking (as would happen with his next album) but clearly showed a quiet evolution from the man and his guitar. I could easily write at length about that album, but I digress.
I’m not above purchasing a soundtrack to a movie for one song. I’ve done it many times before, and I’m sure when I start getting disposable income again, I’ll do it again. There is a song by Paul Simon which appeared on the soundtrack to The Wild Thornberrys Movie – “Father And Daughter” (2002). At the time of its release I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t watching “The Wild Thornberrys” and sure didn’t see the film. I was barely aware that Paul Simon had a song on the soundtrack, let alone have it nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.
I wasn’t paying much attention, apparently, to the Academy Awards that year. I didn’t hear the song during the broadcast (I usually record the event and watch it on fast forward, skipping half the speeches, commercials and other boring bits) and I wasn’t listening to the one radio station in Seattle that would play Paul Simon’s music.
It wasn’t until a few years later, in 2006, when the song appeared on his next full length album, 2006’s “Surprise”. I was moving up and down the dial and came across that one radio station that would play Paul Simon’s music. It was then I heard the song.
“Father And Daughter” is a hauntingly beautiful love song by a father for his daughter. When I first heard it, I had to pull over (I was driving at the time) so I could give the song my full attention. As the song ended I had tears in my eyes. My own daughter was born in 2005. Maybe I’m a little too sentimental, or too quick to be moved emotionally, but I completely understood where he was coming from. It was the first time since “Hearts And Bones” that a Paul Simon song really resonated with me.
I wish I could convey as eloquently as he did how I feel about my daughter. I wish I could make her understand that I would do anything for her to give her that safe and secure feeling all children deserve. I guess I’ll just have to let Paul Simon do it for me.
If you leap awake
In the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second
You can’t remember where you are
Just open your window
And follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain
Where we counted every falling star
I believe the light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever (forever)
And though I can’t guarantee
There’s nothing scary hiding under your bed
I’m gonna stand guard like a postcard of a golden retriever
And never leave till I leave you with a sweet dream in your bed
I’m gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you’ll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you
Trust your intuition
It’s just like goin fishin’
You cast your line and hope you get a bite
But you don’t need to waste your time
Worryin’ about the market place
Try to help the human race
Strugglin to survive its harshest night.