The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (16): Simon says

Message today from Paul Simon:

He calls it an American tune. In truth, it’s universal.

‘I can’t help wondering what’s gone wrong.’

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  • Well he sounded better when we paid him £3 at our folk club in 1963 he wasn’t bad and we said keep at it you never know! A year later he was top of the charts with Art Garfunkel! Hugh Kerr editor of the Edinburgh Music Review

  • I wonder if Paul Simon was aware of the German origin of the tune, which was composed by Hans Leo Hassler in 1600 and known to classical music lovers by its appearance in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. I presume he heard the tune through its adaptation in various American hymns. Two of Brahms’ op 122 chorale preludes are based on this tune.

  • When I was in HS, a small group of us interviewed him for our school newspaper In NYC, in his apartment. Probably 1969, or close. He was extraordinarily nice to a few New Jersey kids. We were in awe!

  • from John Forster’s song lyric, Fusion, about P.S.:

    This pretty tune was written by Hans Leo Hassler,
    in 1599.
    I wrote some words and changed about three notes,
    now ASCAP says it’s mine.

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