Paul Simon, the master lyricist and musician, has left an indelible mark on the music world with his timeless compositions. While many recognize his iconic work with Simon & Garfunkel and his solo ventures, some may be unaware of the lesser-known gems where his talent shines. Here are three songs where Paul Simon’s genius quietly takes center stage, leaving listeners in awe of his versatility.
1. “Fast Car” by Wyclef Jean (2007)
In an unexpected pairing, Paul Simon joined forces with Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean on the track “Fast Car.” Not only did Simon co-write the song, but he also graced it with his soulful vocals. In a verse that resonates with hope, Simon sings, “When that fast car picks you up / You will weep and smile and see / Heaven in the headlights / Mile after mile after mile after mile.” This collaboration showcased Simon’s ability to seamlessly blend his voice with diverse musical styles, contributing to the success of Jean’s album “Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant.”
2. “The Boxer” (Cover) by Mumford & Sons (2012)
Mumford & Sons, the acclaimed folk-rock band, paid homage to Simon & Garfunkel’s classic “The Boxer” by crafting a heartfelt cover. While Marcus Mumford led the vocals, Paul Simon’s presence was felt as he provided background vocals and showcased his electric guitar skills alongside the cheerful banjo and Dobro played by Jerry Douglas. This rendition, featured on Mumford & Sons’ Grammy Album of the Year “Babel,” beautifully captured the essence of the original while infusing it with a fresh, contemporary spirit.
3. “Walk Tall” by Ziggy Marley (2009)
Ziggy Marley, the renowned reggae artist, enlisted Paul Simon’s harmonious vocals for the uplifting track “Walk Tall.” Simon’s soft-spoken supporting harmonies blended seamlessly with Marley’s lead vocals, creating a soul-stirring anthem. Together, they sang, “Walk tall, walk tall / Even if you fall get up / Stand tall, stand tall / Even if you fall get up,” spreading a message of resilience and strength. This collaboration, featured on Marley’s album “Family Time,” not only resonated with listeners but also contributed to a noble cause, as a portion of the album’s proceeds supported education initiatives in Jamaica.