Paul Simon's 49 favorite songs from his catalog

First off, my apologies if a Paul Simon playlist isn't high on your list. If that's the case, this isn't so nice for you, and I'll see you next week. But the thing is, for Paul Simon superfans like myself (I am increasingly unapologetic — or maybe just increasingly old?), a compendium of Paul's own favorites from his catalog is a very cool, not to mention unprecedented, thing. 

Because yeah, somebody got Paul Simon to admit which songs are his favorites. At least, they were his favorites one evening in 2016. (The list is, apparently, very much subject to change.)


Paul lists most of my own favorites, though I do slightly sighingly note the absence of songs like "Born at the Right Time" and "All Around the World: The Myth of Fingerprints." He also lists songs I've never even heard. (Granted, who heard the songs from his ill-fated and much maligned musical, The Capeman? Apparently the songs are great, even though the musical itself was impenetrable.)

In addition, just TODAY, Paul released a new album called In the Blue Light in which he reworks many of his old lesser known favorites — the ones people pretty much never noticed. Giving them a second chance at life. So I've subbed in those versions here, accounting for six songs total. I figure this is Paul's list; if these are the version he wants out there, I'd better oblige. 

You may be wondering: Where the heck did I find this? And why only 49? The list is buried in Chapter 24 (and corresponding footnotes) of Robert Hilburn's excellent 2018 biography of Paul Simon, Paul Simon: The Life

Fascinatingly, Hilburn's notes mention that there are 50 titles. Alas, only 49 are listed. I've checked repeatedly. Bob, need a better editor? Call me!

Anyway I made all the songs into a Google Play playlist for you. This weekend, if the less enthusiastic Rhymin' Simon fans are willing to remain patient with you, you might enjoy checking it out. And if you're a fan who somehow missed my obsessively detailed chronicle of the time I got to see Paul play Red Rocks, you may like to check that out

Presented in alphabetical order, here are Paul's 49 favorites. His top 10 are those shown in bold italic

  1. Adios Hermanos
  2. America
  3. American Tune
  4. The Boxer
  5. The Boy in the Bubble
  6. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  7. Can I Forgive Him? 
  8. The Coast
  9. The Cool, Cool River
  10. Darling Lorraine
  11. Dazzling Blue
  12. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  13. Duncan
  14. Esmeralda's Dream
  15. Father and Daughter
  16. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
  17. Further to Fly
  18. Getting Ready for Christmas Day
  19. Graceland
  20. Hearts and Bones
  21. Homeward Bound
  22. How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns
  23. Insomniac's Lullaby
  24. Kodachrome
  25. The Late Great Johnny Ace
  26. Late in the Evening
  27. Love
  28. Love and Hard Times
  29. Loves Me Like a Rock
  30. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  31. Mother and Child Reunion
  32. Mrs. Robinson
  33. Night Game
  34. The Obvious Child
  35. Old Friends
  36. Peace Like a River
  37. Questions for the Angels
  38. Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War
  39. Rewrite
  40. Senorita with a Necklace of Tears
  41. Slip Slidin' Away
  42. Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy
  43. Something So Right
  44. The Sound of Silence
  45. Spirit Voices
  46. Still Crazy After All These Years
  47. Stranger to Stranger
  48. Train in the Distance
  49. You Can Call Me Al