Paul Simon Birthday Set with Andy Mulkerin

One of America’s most treasured songwriters, Paul Simon, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with Art Garfunkel. After disbanding in 1970, Simon embarked on a solo career, releasing many excellent albums like 1986’s Graceland and his most recent album, So Beautiful or So What in 2011. On the occasion of Paul Simon's birthday and the release of Paul Simon’s Complete Albums Collection, Andy Mulkerin of City Paper shares some of Simon’s best songs.

“Happy Paul Simon Day!” says Andy Mulkerin. “Obviously, he’s a great lyrical songwriter, but I think what’s really interesting about him is that he sort of sums up late 20th century America. It’s kind of all of the good and bad there in him.”  Paul Simon has covered many different genres, including blues, folk, and African music, and his work is legendary with Simon and Garfunkel. “He really is a character.”

The first song Andy Mulkerin picked for his guest DJ set is "Kodachrome", one of Simon’s best known solo songs. The song comes from his solo album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. Named for Kodak 35mm film, the song saw great success in America, but was less successful abroad due to the trademarked name.

The next song in Mulkerin’s Paul Simon setlist was "Armistice Day". “It’s one of his most beautiful songs, it’s from his first solo album, his self titled album with him in a parka on the front lookin’ cold. It’s an amazing record. That wasn’t one necessarily of the hits from it, but it’s a beautiful song. It’s got that bluesy downtuned guitar in it, then it turns into this sort of funky ditty towards the end. It’s almost like a suite, its got a couple different things going on, but it’s not structured like a pop song.” Cindy agreed, saying, “He’s an artist who, over the course of his career, definitely has evolved his sound in very interesting ways. I think that that album sort of broke him into an artist that you really want to keep an eye on as far as diversifying his sound.”

The final song of Andy’s set is "The Sound of Silence", the song that catapulted Simon and Garfunkel to popularity in the mid 60s. “There are a few reasons I picked this particular song, and this particular version. One is that I’ve always loved every version of this song that wasn’t the single version of this song, because it’s sort of a legendary story that all the electric guitars and the rhythm section and everything that’s on the single version was tacked on without Simon and Garfunkel’s knowledge and it got released as a single while they were in Europe, and they had no idea. Every other version of this song ever is really beautiful.” The other reason Andy picked it was a bit more emotional. “This version makes me think of a couple years ago. He sang this song solo on September 11th of 2011 for the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and if you watched that and kept two dry eyes you’re some kind of monster.”

Andy Mulkerin's Setlist:

Paul Simon - Kodachrome

Paul Simon - Armistice Day

Paul Simon - The Sound of Silence