Paul Simon Quotes

Paul Frederic Simon

Born: 13 October 1941, Newark, New Jersey

Influenced by the Everly Brothers, Paul and his friend Art Garfunkel began singing together, often performing at high school events, and had some commercial success under the name “Tom and Jerry”. After college, Paul wrote or recorded over 30 songs under various names before teaming up with Garfunkel again in 1964. Starting with “The Sound of Silence” the duo seemed to define my generation. The pair broke up in 1970 and Simon’s solo career has continued. In 2007 he received the first Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress to go along with being inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with Garfunkel (1990) and without (2001)), Kennedy Center Honors (2002), thirteen Grammys, and an Emmy.

Paul Simon quotes:

A man sees what he wants to see, And disregards the rest.
    Paul Simon

After all those years of automatic success, you don’t get nervous any more. It’s really necessary to be nervous and be a little bit frightened. It pumps the adrenalin into you and you really get down there and try.
    Paul Simon

All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
    Paul Simon

Although I was able to study music with teachers, I never studied lyric writing. I read poetry, and I read other lyricists. But they were never writing in the style or the form that I was interested in.
    Paul Simon

Artie is a singer, and I’m a writer and player and a singer. We didn’t work together on a creative level and prepare the songs. I did that.
    Paul Simon

Being an artist doesn’t mean that you’re a good artist. That was the bargain I first made with myself: I’d say, I’m an artist, but I’m not really very good.
    Paul Simon

Between the ages of 15 and 22, I had made only one very minor hit, so I expected everything to be a flop. I was utterly amazed that The Sound of Silence was a big hit.
    Paul Simon

During some hashish reverie I was thinking, I earn my living by writing and singing songs. If I were born 100 ago I’d be in Vienna or wherever my ancestors came from-Hungary-and I couldn’t be a guitarist-songwriter. There were none.
    Paul Simon

Facts can be turned into art if one is artful enough.
    Paul Simon

Having a track record to live up to and the history of successes had become a hindrance. It becomes harder to break out of what people expect you to do.
    Paul Simon

I don’t consider myself to be a major talent, so the only solace I can take is to hope I’m growing.
    Paul Simon

I don’t think that Simon and Garfunkel as a live act compares to Simon and Garfunkel as a studio act.
    Paul Simon

I don’t very often think I’ve done a good job. I don’t like the majority of what I do. I shouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I’m not satisfied with almost everything that I do.
    Paul Simon

I feel I should try to reveal. When you hit it right, you produce an emotional response in the listener that can be cathartic. When you’re wrong, you’re soppy, sentimental.
    Paul Simon

I lived in an attached house. My father used to drive into the wrong driveway all the time. He’d say, Damn it, how do you tell one of these houses from another?
    Paul Simon

I question what emotion Manilow touches. People are entertained by him. But are they emotionally moved? I don’t believe anything that Barry Manilow sings.

Paul Simon
I rate each album as better than the last one. That’s how I see it.

Paul Simon
I see a correlation between short stories and songs, because of their length and for what they’re meant to evoke. Combine certain words with melodies and it all becomes very moving.

Paul Simon
I think Bridge Over Troubled Water was a very good song. Artie sang it beautifully. The Boxer was a really nice record. But I don’t think I’ve written any great songs.

Paul Simon
I think I have a superior brain and an inferior stature, if you really want to get brutal about it.

Paul Simon
I try to open up my heart as much as I can and keep a real keen eye out that I don’t get sentimental. I think we’re all afraid to reveal our hearts. It’s not at all in fashion.

Paul Simon
I wanted to sing other types of songs that Simon and Garfunkel wouldn’t do. For me it was a chance to gamble a little bit; it’s been so long since it was a gamble.

Paul Simon
I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It’s chicken and eggs. And I said, I gotta use that one.

Paul Simon
If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, you’ve created a special little thing, and that’s what I’m looking for, because if you get pompous, you lose everything.

Paul Simon
I’m more interested in what I discover than what I invent.

Paul Simon
I’m not in it for the money. I like music. I love to write music. I can’t imagine myself not playing or singing or writing. It would just drive me crazy if I didn’t.

Paul Simon
Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.

Paul Simon
It’s a big error to think that because you like somebody’s work, you’re going to like him.

Paul Simon
It’s actually very difficult to make something both simple and good.

Paul Simon
It’s pointless to be critical of your stuff once it’s done. I don’t spend a lot of time agonising over it. It’s of no importance once it’s finished.

Paul Simon

It’s strange enough to be in Germany, and when I finished playing, I was thinking, I hate Homeward Bound. Then I thought, Well, that’s not a bad song at all for a 22-year-old kid.

Paul Simon
Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.

Paul Simon
My style is to procrastinate.

Paul Simon
On my own album, I learned every aspect of it has to be your own judgment. You have to say, Now, wait a minute, is that the right tempo? Is that the right take? It’s your decision. Nobody else can do it.

Paul Simon
One of the things that upset me was some of the criticism leveled at Simon and Garfunkel. I always took exception to it, but actually I agree with a lot of it.

Paul Simon
People often called us perfectionists, but we were not looking for perfection. We were looking for some kind of magic in the music.

Paul Simon
Some people never say the words ‘I love you’ It’s not their style to be so bold. Some people never say those words: ‘I love you’ But, like a child, they’re longing to be told.

Paul Simon
Sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears.

Paul Simon
The more I get to thinking, the less I tend to laugh.

Paul Simon

“Oh, Marion” on One Trick Pony (1980)
The only time that love is an easy game is when two other people are playing it.

Paul Simon

“Oh, Marion” on One Trick Pony (1980)
The record company stays out of my way. Whenever the record is finished, they take it.

Paul Simon
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.

Paul Simon
There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful.

Paul Simon
To get the stuff out of you, especially if what you’re dealing with is yourself, requires you to open up and touch tender spots. You have to be anesthetized a little bit.

Paul Simon
When I left CBS, it became company policy there to make life as difficult as possible for me. It ended only when I threatened to subpoena people.

Paul Simon

When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.

Paul Simon
Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?

Paul Simon

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