Monday, 17 April 2017

The Hollies "Write On" (1976)




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The Hollies "Write On" (1976)

Star/Write On/Sweet Country Calling/Love Is The Thing/I Won't Move Over//Narida/Stranger/Crocodile Woman (She Bites!)/My Island/There's Always Goodbye

'You're not the first and won't be the last to feel the frustration of a musical fast'

Back in 1966 'Bus Stop' had finally become The Hollies' breakthrough hit stateside and suddenly they were 'stars' but didn't know it, taking a while to capitalise on their success over there (it's not until 1971's 'Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress' that Americans really know who The Hollies are, Graham Nash's adventures in CSN aside). Ten years on, though and it's all gone wrong. For the first time in the band's career EMI's American subsidiary Epic has decided to pass on a Hollies album, rejecting everything after 'Another Night' on the grounds that nobody is that interested in The Hollies anymore. Given the amount of money, ideas and indeed talent thrown at that LP and this is a cruel blow, just two years after international hit 'The Air That I Breathe' and one The Hollies never quite recover from even though EMI continues to release their albums at home in the UK (Epic will instead compile a random assortment of tracks from this album and the next two as the not-at-all Crosby-Stills-Nash cash-in 'Clarke-Sylvester-Hicks-Calvert-Elliott', which is still how most American fans know these songs: actually it's pretty good as desperate marketing compilation techniques go even if it doesn't choose the songs most British fans would assume it does). The Hollies' response? Well, they mope around a bit and feel sorry for themselves a lot to be honest, turning in their moodiest, grumpiest, biggest self-pitying album since 'Would You Believe?' in 1966.

The band are stars anywaaaa-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay, though, and while half of this album sighs 'what's the point?' the other half is already trying to knock their listeners socks off so much that they have to turn this album into a 'hit'. The fact that it wasn't says more about EMI's sleepy marketing team and the sudden arrival of punk in the UK in 1976 than it does about The Hollies. Even so, the band's response to commercial annihilation isn't what most bands would do and again and again throughout this album the band try to discover a new sound rather than simply consolidate their old one. You would expect The Hollies to simply re-record 'Air That I Breathe' clones across 'Another Night' and 'Write On' and indeed that's a good part of what The Hollies do, with gorgeous period outtakes 'Here In My Dreams' and 'Sanctuary' very much in the same mould (and ever so nearly every bit as good). The band first 'lost' their eleven year commercial momentum by releasing the gamble that was 'Son Of A Rotten Gambler' - a single that most definitely didn't play it since - and ever since have been refusing to play the obvious cards. It speaks volumes that these two exquisite ballads ended up in the vaults but the Hollies' first country-rock song ('Sweet County Calling'), retro rock ('Crocodile Woman'), calypso ('My Island') and their biggest prog rock statements by far ('Love Is The Thing' and 'Stranger') all end up on this album instead. Change is often good and exactly what a band with a then-thirteen year, fourteen-album pedigree the way The Hollies had should have been doing, but you have to be careful with commercial decline - and moaning in the title track about what a great set of songs you have but that your fans are all complete idiots for not buying it is a dangerous move. So, too, is this album's attempt at a hit single in the self-deprecating 'Star' where the band strut around thinking they are still every bit as big as The Beatles and yet the girl the narrator tries to chat up admits she's never heard of them.

Humour, grumps and a sudden unexpected reversion to 1950s rockabilly is not the usual solution to commercial decline, but in context this record makes a lot of sense given that the high profile big budget 'Another Night' hadn't broken the marketplace the way the band wanted either. The 'in' sound of the year in Britain, ironically enough, is Mud who end up sounding not unlike a slightly tongue-in-cheek version of the 1960s Hollies - which is why it makes more sense to me than most fans that the band's bassist Ray Stiles should become a Hollie himself in the 1980s. Much of the album is trying to do the same slightly silly, carefree pop with which the band made their name the first time around. Unfortunately, though, the band never quite managed to hone that style on their own songs, preferring to write the more experimental and usually much more serious B-sides instead. Humour doesn't quite suit The Hollies as songwriters, however great they sound when performing it on 'Bus Stop' et al and the humour is what doesn't quite work on this album: 'Stranger' rhymes with danger, because this is an album that's meant to be slightly silly, 'Crocodile Woman' starts off as a song about a cougar before ending up being about a snappy bitter spouse instead and 'Narida' comes with more 'na na nas' than 'Hey Jude'. Only on 'Star' do The Hollies finally nail their comedy vein and it's for pretty much the last time on record sadly, Allan Clarke's smug lead getting his comeuppance the perfect response to The Hollies' dip in sales figures.

However all that laughing on the surface covers up where this album's heart really lies and that 'Write On' ends up being perhaps the most serious and heartfelt Hollies album out there. The title track takes you by surprise not because it's so grumpy (The Hollies, a candidate for the 1960s if not the 1970s' most emotionally resonant singles band, have been masters of the genre since 'We're Through') but because it's so autobiographical. This isn't a life experience turned into being about a girl or a character or a story or a crocodile woman or Pegasus the Flying Horse, it's about a musician whose songs aren't being played on the radio anymore wondering whether it's worth bothering carrying on. Two other songs on the album continue the belligerent mood and are only very slightly turned into 'love' songs. 'I Won't Move Over' has the narrator refusing to let go of something that once felt so good and admitting to us that they don't feel as if it's 'over' yet whatever they've been told - that the ring they once gave hasn't been handed back yet so they're going to pretend as if nothing's wrong and hope it goes away (is the ring an EMI contract with four albums left on it in the UK?!) Then there's the closer 'There's Always Goodbye' which rivals even 'Lucy' for the sheer amount of tears you feel like crying while listening to it. The narrator has been duped into feeling happy and contented, that the latest love of his life was 'the one' and now it's all gone wrong, again. Did we mention this was an album that felt a bit sorry for itself? Elsewhere 'My Island' demonstrates just how badly the band need this escapism, with a song born of imagination and fiction somehow sounding as 'real' as any track in The Hollies' catalogue, if only for the lines where the narrator admits it's all make-believe. Finally, many Hollies love songs are heartfelt and you can tell that they're written with someone in mind (sometimes three people given that this is the era of the Clarke-Sylvester-Hicks writing credits) but 'Love Is The Thing' is perhaps the ultimate Hollies love song, dispensing with the need for hooks, riffs and commercial appeal for a rising-falling swell of emotion so strong it will knock you off your feet. With every track on this album written by the band themselves - one of the few times this actually happens in the 1970s - this feels like more of the 'real' Hollies lurking underneath the occasional bit of finger-snapping filler and it's a far more honest and heartfelt album than, say, the 1974 Hollies one (which was all character-driven). 

Unfortunately it's also in many ways the slowest - which isn't going to help The Hollies' commercial standings at all. One of the things that made the Hollies stand out during the 1960s was their energy: with Bobby Elliott's jazz thrusts driving the band along, no one could touch them for sheer enthusiasm and effort. Compared to the 'pretty' Beatles and 'laidback' Rolling Stones, it was The Hollies' calling card. From this album on, though, 'Write On' is the close of one of the greatest 180 degree turns in popular music: the ballads are that bit slower, the rockers that bit sparser and the productions that bit more lush. Only the mid-paced strut of 'Star' and the manicness of 'Crocodile Woman' buck that trend on this album, which as well as a near-enough five-minute title track and a Ron Richards production best described as 'epic', makes 'Write On' the single most prog rock Hollies album (a nose ahead of 'A Distant Light' courtesy of that suite-loving album's more lo-fi production values). Sadly for The Hollies that was a sound that had suddenly never sounded more unfashionable in the new world the punks were busy trying to shape. The irony is that had punk come with half the energy The Hollies displayed in 1963 then the movement might have lasted for longer; it's a surprise that the Merseybeat era Mancunian music wasn't embraced by them more being a mixture of rebellion, frustration and sheer joy at being alive - what every good punk in 1976 was trying to follow. By 1976 The Hollies are too gentlemanly to rebel, too set in their ways ('Star' aside) to feel frustration and too fed-up at the way their career was going to make a 'punk' album. Missing this bus, too, The Hollies will instead combine punk and disco for their next record 'Russian Roulette', which as the name suggests is something of a hit-and-miss affair.

For now, though, 'Write On' is close to what The Hollies should have been doing in this period given the circumstances. If 'Another Night' couldn't win over a new audience with its bigger production, catchy mature songs and exotic packaging then by comparison the made-on-the-cheap plain-white-sleeved 'Write On' had no hope. But still the band gamely try, perfecting their branch of homespun thoughtful orchestral ballads, throwing in a retro rock song, a catchy comedy number and a handful of songs that go to places we've never seen The Hollies go to before. Of these new unexplored avenues 'Stranger' nearly works - it's an edgy paranoid number in a contemporary Pink Floyd style that adds layers of mystery and mayhem that could have worked well for The Hollies had they tidied up the clichéd lyrics in the chorus a bit more. 'Sweet Country Calling' also makes a better fist of country-rock than anything The Eagles ever did, even if you can tell that the band's hearts are still closer to the banking town of Manchester than the banks of the Mississippi. 'Crocodile Woman' wears its rockabilly crocodile shoes with pride, even if the backing is oddly sloppy for 1970s Hollies standards and Tony Hicks' guitar solo doesn't so much go into full throttle as sound as if it's being throttled. 'Narida' adds a touch of exoticness to go alongside 'My Island', suggesting that at least part of The Hollies' recent mega world tour ended up somewhere bear the Caribbean and compared to what other AAA bands do in this period (why 10cc why?!?) the attempt to go native isn't as excruciating as you might expect. The trouble is, though, that's four songs on which The Hollies really really really don't sound much like The Hollies and as good as these songs are to visit and as pleasing as it is to hear The Hollies break out of their signature sound for something new, you're also kind of glad the band don't choose to live here.

No, it still comes down to 'love' in the end for the album's greatest moments. The ballads about romance that have been slowly building in power across the decade since the band's heart-throb Terry Sylvester joined the band (you might need a lie-down at this point Roselyn!) suddenly flower like never before here. 'Love Is The Thing' is perhaps the greatest Hollies love song of them all - no small feat for a band who did so many great romantic numbers - but that's because it's slow-burning sizzle and coast is so unlike anything The Hollies have ever tried before, a dramatic outpouring of emotion that still manages to sound serene and hypnotic. It's the difference between what men in their thirties and men in their twenties would write (with 'Carrie Anne' an example): this isn't a teenage crush, or something light and fluffy to kid to the guys in the bar about the next day or even lust - it's overpowering three-dimensional love and after seeing through these eyes you sense the narrator is never ev-uh going to see life quite the same way again. In a similar way 'There's Always Goodbye' challenges what we heard the last time out, that you 'Gotta Give Me Time' because the band aren't ready to settle down quite yet, with an idea that the biological clock is ticking and ticking fast. 'I Won't Move Over' also suggests the band aren't quite ready to give up love and what it means to them just yet, however strong the case is for moving on. Of course this wouldn't be The Hollies if they weren't still playful and both Narida and Crocodile Woman sound very much like 'cougars', one-off flings the band are keen not to tell their wives about back home (there is a book by groupie Pamela Des Barres from somewhere loosely round this period that remembers a fivesome going on in a hotel room and taking place in a bath - Tony being the goody-two-shoes who stayed watching TV although he wasn't above joining in too, at least if the book is to be believed!) As with all things Hollies these two 'naughty' songs are delivered with such a knowing twinkle that somehow they get away with it - especially when songs like 'Love Is The Thing' prove that they really did take their love lives seriously too.

There is, of course, a sixth Hollie that not many people talk about, but his fingerprints are all over this album more than the band's and more perhaps than any of their other LPs. Pete Wingfield had joined the band as their tour keyboardist  in 1975 and for a time his fame eclipsed the lot of them when his similarly twinkly solo single 'Eighteen With A Bullet' shot into the American top twenty (funnily enough peaking at number eighteen!) Today better known as part of Paul McCartney's 'Run Devil Run' band in the late 1990s, Wingfield has a style eclectic enough to match whatever The Hollies have to offer him - which on this album means the synthesiser swirl of passion on 'Love Is The Thing' (the best use of the instrument after The Who?), the honky-tonk solos on 'Crocodile Woman', the bleeping noises of 'Star', the spooky faux-bass funk of 'Stranger' and the country-honk of 'Sweet Country Calling'. Wingfield has his fingers in a lot of pies across this record and does the band proud, as he will across the next three record too. However, it's also a sign of sad things to come. Poor Bernie Calvert, whose at least Pete's equal as a piano player, has been trying to get more of his 'original' instrument onto a Hollies album since he joined the group in 1966, which a brief flurry on 'Hollies Sing Hollies' in 1969 and 'Romany' in 1972 (when the rest of the band are distracted by line-up changes) never quite materialises. What's worse is that, in the spirit of the day, Wingfield often plays his bass parts for him on the keyboard too - and as all good AAA fans know why play something on an artificial synth that works perfectly well on a 'proper' instrument? (Especially one played by one of the most under-valued bass players in pop history).

In fact the band performances are Write On's Achilles Heel all the way through. Though one of Ron Richards' final productions with the band coats everything with the same glossy sheen, whether it needs it or not, too often underneath the sound is a band who have forgotten what it's like to play together and are in overdub city. Unusually Bobby Elliott's drumming is all over the place and nowhere more than on 'Crocodile Woman', the one track on this album that tries to 'cut loose' but remembers too late that the band haven't tried this in so long they probably should have had a few rehearsals first. As well as Bernie being sidelined there's barely any Terry acoustic guitar here either, while Bobby too only plays on about half the album and Terry's guitar solos aren't as plentiful as on most other albums. As good as Pete Wingfield is, he should be complementing the Hollies sound, not replacing it. Thankfully the Hollies spend more time on their harmonies than they do on the backing tracks and these are as sumptuous as ever, especially 'Love Is The Thing' which may well be the definitive vocal performance by the Sylvester-era line-up. Clarkey too is in good voice, typically nailing this album's pot pourri (russian roulette?) of styles without even breaking sweat, although as on 'Another Night' it's rather a shame that since he returned to the band Terry and Tony don't seem to be getting their album dose of lead vocals anymore.

Overall, then, there's much to love about 'Write On'. From the self-laughing fun of 'Star' to the drama of 'Love Is The Thing' to the poignancy of 'There's Always Goodbye' this album packs an emotional whallop as heavy as any of their 1970s albums and there are some impressive stabs at something new. The downside to this is that 'Write On' lacks the cohesion and general air of brilliance heard on 'Another Night' and is perhaps a little ballad-heavy (if not quite as continually slow as '5317704' in three albums' time). 'Star' should have been the hit single the band needed and 'Write On' is more than good enough to be a hit on the back of it, but sadly musical success isn't always about worthy winners and lousy losers (if it was The Spice Girls would still be washing dishes in a club somewhere and Belle and Sebastian would have more gold discs than they know what to do with!) EMI really goofed with the packaging, which is boring on the front and ugly on the back (five caricatures of the band's faces, complete with more wrinkles than they had in real life!) and with the promotion, assuming this record wouldn't sell so they wouldn't bother to push it instead of giving the third most successful band in their history (behind The Beatles and Pink Floyd) the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately 'Write On' is a step down from the sheer genius Hollies records that ended with 'Another Night' and the start of a downward trend where the band lose their fanbase, their confidence and much of their originality. But it's not over yet by any means and this should have been a great new beginning with 'Write On' getting a lot more things 'right' than it does 'wrong'.

'Star' is the funniest song in The Hollies' canon. A knowing parody of the band's recent fall from fame it has Allan Clarke camping it up like the long lost love child of The Pinball Wizard and The Acid Queen, picking up a hitch-hiker with the unlikely name of 'Beverly Drive', actually a posh road-name in Sunset Boulevard) in his Cadillac and expecting the girl to be impressed. She doesn't know who he is, so Clarke's rockstar resorts to chatting (admitting he usually doesn't have to), tells he about the 'giant size neons' that display his name and in the end gets his personal archivist out to show her tapes. Nothing works and his increasingly irritation throughout the song is the perfect under-cut to the usual traditional Hollies build-up of emotions, replacing feelings of love and obsession (as heard in everything from 'I Can't Let Go' through to 'The Air That I Breathe') with indignation and frustration. The clever twist to the song is that she is herself a much bigger star than he is and he didn't recognise her either (suggesting that she's from a 'current' generation the ageing rocker still thinks he's part of). Though nobody ever explains why a fellow multi-millionaire rockstar needs to hitch-hike in the first place (did her Rolls Royce have a flat tyre?) it's the perfect response to a band who have been told in no uncertain terms that they're 'past it' and aren't as famous or as big as they used to be, delivered with just the right amount of strutting, sarcasm and teeth-nashing. As well as being inventive it's also catchy enough for listeners not patient enough to wait until the pay-off, with its period synthesiser riff (the first sound on the album is all Pete Wingfield's creation), a nicely jolly riff and some particularly noisy hi-hat drumming from Bobby Elliott. It's another one of those undeserving Hollies mid 1970s flop singles in other words, even though it's ten times catchier than most other things out there and a hundred times more inventive. Along with 'Another Night' and 'I'm Down' it's proof that The Hollies couldn't get a hit with anything, despite trying their hardest to update their sound without losing the Hollies aspects (the long drawn out harmonies on the word 'sta-a-a-a-a-a-ar' are particularly impressive). All this song needs is a Tony Hicks guitar solo to finish things off - good as Pete Wingfield's synthwork is, his jazzy middle section can't quite compete. 

'Write On' is, by contrast, probably how not to re-act to your fading celebrity status: by moaning about it. Not since Graham Nash discovered America in 1966 and then had to go back to his day job with The Hollies has this band sounded so down in the dumps. For once there's no masking their real feelings behind a facade of a boy being dumped or his wife dying either: this is a direct song about feeling hurt that sales have been slipping. Though the song tries hard to be upbeat, the narrator telling himself to 'shine on' and 'get it together' and that son 'you'll be going out and slaying them!', still the mood is downbeat. A melancholy melody sighs its way through the song, limply moving at a sluggish speed and emphasising all the things the narrator is trying to hide: that 'The radio ain't playing 'em' that 'you're feeling the frustration of a musical fast' and most bitterly of all 'that there's no one listening to your song'. Finding new life Clarke's narrator suddenly decides to 'rock on!', but even this jazzier Elton John style middle section is no real relief, as the band are back on tour playing one-nighters to a dwindling audience and longing for a 'helping hand'. They're also being taken advantage of by musical 'hustlers' and managers and even the Hollies advice 'gotta give it time' doesn't do much to soothe things. Even the pun in the title (on the then-hip rock saying 'right on!') is bitter - the band writing on because they don't know how to do anything else rather than because they're 'right on' ie correct in what they're doing. The Hollies are floundering and hard as this song tries to make this piece of insecurity sound at one with the usual Hollies style (complete with a rare period stunning Hicks guitar solo), it doesn't quite come off. This song is a little bit too real, a little bit too vulnerable and rather too sad for any fan whose ever cared enough about The Hollies to stay loyal to this point in their history to listen to. In short, after thirteen years, The Hollies are more or less back where they started, overlooked against noisier, hipper but far less talented bands still waiting for their day in the sunshine. Sadly it's also a little bit ponderous and over-long, stretched out to nearly five minutes (the longest Hollie song to feature Clarke since 'You Know The Score?' five years earlier?) and without the happy twist all fans were hoping for. Ultimately this song comes over as mere moping - Impressive well-made moping for sure, but moping all the same.

'Sweet Country Calling' is an example of the band trying to jump onto another bandwagon in their quest to stay afloat and save the good ship Hollies. On its own terms the song is a success, easily the better of anything The Eagles did and equal with Poco, while Clarkey thankfully rejects the temptation to go all American and makes this local countryside lover purely English instead. The lyrics are basically all the usual clichés: the narrator wants to 'breathe the mountain air' and 'drink some moonshine' (ie whiskey - for some reason there's a lot of it on Clarke's solo records!) but they're cleverer than most similar lyrics. For instance at the end of a run of bits of nature to be enjoyed there's a clever pun as Clarke hears the 'bluegrass', listed as if it's a bird or a crop rather than a style of music! He also shyly admits that he wants to spend time with a 'friend of mine', in contrast to the sexual shenanigans of 'Star'! However throughout  there's still a feeling that The Hollies don't quite fit this style and that at best they're outsiders looking in rather than embracing country-rock with the gusto of The Byrds or their spin-off group The Flying Burrito Brothers. The clunky chorus, which slows the tempo right down whenever it re-appears (which is a lot!) is also perhaps a cliché too far. However the song isn't as wretched as a band who've been together thirteen years and never even felt the urge to dabble their feet in the toes of country music should be and it's a sign, again, that The Hollies may well have been the best interpreters in the business.

That's despite the fact that The Hollies already had a pretty magnificent trademark sound all of their own making. 'Love Is The Thing' is perhaps the ultimate expression of harmony-drenched blissful romance - the band played around with this style many times but in their catalogue only 'The Air That I Breathe' comes close. Even this song is, well, weird by Hollie standards though. The chorus consists of just one word (luuuuuuurve!') sung in unison three times over as the song reaches a swell and climax that's quite over-powering (it's also perhaps your best chance to hear just how tight the Clarke-Sylvester-Hicks harmonies are, so well suited to each other that it's hard to hear where one voice ends and another begins). The backing too is oddball for The Hollies, featuring no one else except three Pete Wingfields (who surely deserves a co-credit for his work on this track), his three very different keyboards sounding like the past (harpsichord), present (piano) and future (a very modern sounding synthesiser). The only other colour except these three parts and the harmonies all song is a heartbeat from Bobby Elliott on his bass drum every so often that makes this song sound more than ever like an intimate night between the sheets. The lyrics, too, are surreal and haiku-like (not a very Hollies style at all) but amongst the best the Sylvester-era band ever wrote, saying everything that needed to be said in just a few fleshed out lines. Here love isn't a crush at a bus-stop or 'just one look' that leaves the narrator 'hooked' but closer to the vibe of 'I Can't Let Go', a multi-dimensional obsession that encompasses every one of the narrator's senses. This goes for past, present and future love too, indiscriminately: 'They say you can't forget your first taste of love...memories' Clarke wistfully reflects, note-perfect as always. In the present he feels himself drawn to someone whose been a friend but 'love' is what has changed their friendship to something more. And then there's the future, in which the narrator knows well whatever happens in this relationship, whoever else he meets, he's going to spend his life searching for exactly what he's found here. All three verses end in that chorus of 'love', swelling and opening up from nothing into the loudest, most powerful sound on the album. The result is an extraordinary song, romantic and sensual, easily accessible yet very very daring and different and beautifully performed by a band still at the peak of their powers. fame and fortune should indeed have followed on strong after career highpoints like this one.

Sadly the rest of the album can't quite match 'Love Is The Thing', but that's not for lack of effort. 'I Won't Move Over', for instance, is a full-band glossy-performance ballad more in the Hollies tradition. Clarke again excels on a quality lyric as he acts out a heartbroken character who knows that his intuition and all his friends have assumed his romance is 'over', but he refuses to accept it and 'move over'. Later verses fill in the gaps, that another love tried to make a pass and his beloved has been two-timing him - no wonder his friends want him to break off and run away, but he's too besotted and too stubborn to admit defeat. He hasn't heard from her how she feels and tells us in a repeated, desperate middle eight that they once exchanged rings and 'I still got mine and I ain't got hers - that's how I know for sure' that the marriage is rescuable, telling his good-natured concerned friends 'I don't need to say no more' before breaking down on the line 'I don't wanna hear no more!' It's a kind of 'She Loves You' a generation on this track, but with the narrator the party coming out badly rather than the friend passing on happy advice. You can tell, though, that even the narrator is in his heart knows it's 'over', emphasising that word every time it appears at the end of the chorus while Hicks lets fly on another excellent (but far too short) guitar solo that's full of the drama and passion he's kidding himself he doesn't really feel. Together with the spoken-word patter and feel of this song, always lurching from one verse to another in a tumble of words, it goes a long way to explaining just how the narrator feels. However what lets this song down slightly is that it all gets a bit stuck in the same place - there's no pause for reflection in this song, no neat twist at the end and far too many repeats. It would be nice to hear a bare-bones take on this gut-raw mod song than the usual Hollies slick production values too - there's a great 'solo demo with acoustic guitar' demo of this song out there in somebody's loft, I'm sure of it!

'Narida' is the start of Write On's more ordinary secondary side. It's not so much that this song and the ones that follow are bad, just a tad unmemorable. Clarke puts on his best 'Long Cool Woman' swagger on this one about a girl with a 'hoochie coochie' sway and Wingfield tries some Latin American rhythms that make this song come over like an outtake from 'West Side Story'. Bernie sounds right at home with the walking bass, as does Hicks' snarl of a solo which is two parts his usual electric sound to one part flamenco flourish. However the rest of the band seem to struggle here and there's a bit too much over-dubbing in the room you sense. It's also hard to forgive the slightly dodgy lyrics, which go downhill from the chorus line of 'Na Na Na Na Rida' into a world where the title girl lives in the 'back street-ah'. There's a hint, too, that Narida might be a bit naughtier than most Hollie girls, as the band revert to the twinkle of their late-period Nash days (see 'The Games We Play' and 'Step Inside') and hint again that the narrator is after sex, not love. Narida may in fact run a brothel, a 'shepherdess to her flock' but in the 'pay' of some guy named Joe Minnesota (not another street name sadly, but St Joseph is a city in Minnesota as it happens - did The Hollies do a lot of sight-seeing on their 1975 American tour?!) This leads to the best part of the song, a melancholic single line (repeated) middle eight where the song stops strutting and starts living, Clarke and Sylvester sobbing 'I can't blame her, for turning out the way she did!' Alas this song is all 'front' and quickly goes back to being about her streetwise character and the act she puts on so that you never really get to know 'Narita Pastrita, Queen of the Avenue Girls'.

'Stranger' is a valiant attempt at something different that's let down only at the seemingly last-minute decision to make it sound like a more accessible Hollie tune complete with catchy chorus. For the most part this is Moody Blues-Pink Floyd prog rock territory about a hit man who 'might be from the CIA' and whose hired to kill strangers and all the thoughts that rush through his head. Very un-Hollies, even if the narrator of 'Long Cool Woman' spent his day job 'working for the FBI', but this song switches from third person to second to first in quick succession so that the mysterious 'stranger' starts off as 'cool' then 'mysterious' then 'sinister'. This is matched by another excellent turn from Pete Wingfield who provides both the funky, thoughtful bass and the high twinkling notes that make this song sound like a cross between a gospel chorus and the doorbell on the Pearly Gates of Heaven. The main lyric is unusually brusque and dark by Hollie standards, reflecting on poverty in an even darker way than 'Gasoline Alley Bred' and 'Too Young To Be Married' and depicting a very American world of New York's 'bowery boys' and slums, where people have no way out except to live in gangs and take revenge on each other - out of boredom, the song implies, as much as anything else. This is a world where the sun never shines and the tight claustrophobic backing track does a good job at showing a world, perhaps round the corner from 'Gasoline Alley Bred', where everybody born there is doomed to die there, probably violently or from malnutrition, through no fault of their own. So far so great - but then in comes a typically Hollies wide-awake chorus that runs 'Danger! There's a stranger!' as if this song is a Government commercial for primary school children. The characters become less and less lifelike and more cartoonish too: witness 'Sneaky Peate' who knows how to 'use his feet' (decades before the 2015 crime drama 'sneaky pete' might refer to Flying Burrito pedal steel player Sneaky Pete Knlienow, who played the sort of things Tony does on 'Sweet Country Calling'  - or is it a tribute to Pete Wingfield? Or just gibberish?!?) A real shame because for the elongated whispered fade-in opening and the first verse there (about a minute's worth) this is a great song that again on this album proves that The Hollies can do much more than just play their signature sounds. If only this song had stayed a prog rock anthem, instead of a cutesy pop song! I'd love to know which Hollie wrote the basics of it (Clarkey at a guess?) but this piece sounds like the others got hold of it and missed the point. The album track that got away.

Which is pretty much what I feel about 'Crocodile Woman (She Bites) too. The album desperately needs some raw rock and roll on it by now after so many slow, sleepy ballads and this demented rocker ought to fit the biscuit. It's a very retro (and thus in 1976 rather unfashionable) 1950s style rocker, complete with bar-room piano twinkling from Wingfield (who rather hogs the instrumental break!) and rat-a-tat Elliott drumming. The lyrics too are fine in a one-dimensional sense, spelling out yet another wild and dangerous Hollie woman who has keen seductive skills ('Sly girl, good timer, she's just a social climber, but you have to pay the price - she bites!') However The Hollies had spent so long overdubbing and adding polish to their songs that they've all but forgotten how to play songs like these - the kind of energetic rock and roll track that would have been most recognisable to a fan of the 1960s Hollie sound had you stuck them in a 'time machine jive' and dropped them off in 1976. This take is badly sloppy, Clarke's bark leaving him hoarse by the end, while Elliott soon looses control, Wingfield gets carried away busking a jazz improv and Hicks plays what must be the most gonzo guitar he ever put on record, sounding somewhere between strangling a snake and attacking a cougar! The band also mess up the ending, not quite coming in altogether (something half-covered up by the echo-drenched pay-off line 'she bites!') By my reckoning The Hollies have got this raw since 'Transatlantic Westbound Jet' in their Mickael Rickfors days of 1973 and with Clarke in the band not since about 1964 (when most of the 'In The Hollies Style' LP has the 'feeling' it was cut in one take, even when it probably wasn't). This track though still carries a sense of the usual Hollies production polish and couldn't they have gone for at least one more take when they actually, you know, knew how the song went? In a parallel universe, though, both this song and the last one make for a perfect contrasting double 'A' sided single that was done 'properly' and restored The Hollies to #1.

'My Island' is very much a Clarke song, one which coats the album with a soothing balm and revels in its warmth and Hollie harmonies for the first time in five tracks. Clarkey gets escapist here, dreaming of a new home on an island in his head where 'life that will be mine once again'. His imagination must be pretty big, what with the neat tip of the hat to 'the air that I breathe' along with 'warm sand under my feet' and the 'sun on my face'. However there's a hint at something darker even in this idyll: the narrator tells us that he's nearly 'done my time once again' and other lyrics point at him being a re-offender. This time around he didn't 'even get a chance to say goodbye to my loved ones', the hint being that this song is taking place in Clarke's head behind bars (is this the same character heard in '48 Hour Parole' from the next album maybe?) However the song doesn't linger there: this is a song more about where he's escaping to than escaping from, as in his head he's 'sailed the seven seas' and experienced more of the world than he would have done leading a 'normal' life, even if its all just fiction. There's certainly no hint at the darker side in the backing track. The Hollies are convincing playing calypso (a style not that far removed from their old favoured 1960s style of the bossa nova as heard on tracks like 'We're Through', I guess) and Tony fits in another guitar solo that sounds like sun coming out all by itself. A popular fan favourite and the only track from this album to be performed in concert for any length of time (as heard on the 'Hollies Live Hits' album out the following year), this is another worthy attempt at something new but needs a little extra something to 'shake it up', like a middle eight or something. There's a great song in here somewhere, with just an extra insight into why the narrator needs to escape so badly, but alas it never quite comes.

Album closer 'There's Always Goodbye' is a really traditional Hollies moment to end on and one of the best things on the album, as everyone knows exactly what they're doing on a track like this. Clarke's latest hapless narrator is ruing another relationship gone wrong and he doesn't quite know why. It all seemed so good and she was perfect from the first night they met, 'my sunlight shining thro-o-o-o-o-o-o-ugh' a life that once seemed to be dead miserable. Only now it's gone wrong for unstated reasons, Clarke sobbing in another excellent album middle eight that 'you are too kind and I am too shy to say what we really mean'. If this song had been released in the last decade or so you'd say Clarke has been 'friendzoned', the lovers that seemed meant to be never quite getting it together. The couple feel that they're meant apart so sadly leave each other, her goodbye kiss on his forehead 'saying all that could be said'. It's kind of like 'I'm Alive' in reverse this song, the narrator coming to terms with the fact that the one thing that made them experience life in more detail and scope than ever before is disappearing and leaving them heartbroken. On Hollies albums past you'd expect the narrator to get his act together and propose - but no, it's not that kind of a song and The Hollies aren't that kind of a band anymore so he sadly slinks away brooding over the fact that love's gone wrong again and he really thought she was the one that time. Which has always made me wonder: is this song really 'Write On' part two written not to a lover but to the band's audience? The Hollies had a particularly rough rollercoaster ride in their career. While The Beatles started big and kept getting bigger and The Rolling Stones started off small and then grew in following by leaps and bounds, The Hollies kept going in and out of fashion like a yo-yo depending what current single they had out. Their core fans are as loyal as any other 1960s following (and I know that for a fact, having met many of you down the years!) but we're smaller in number than the Beatles and Stones fans; instead The Hollies tended to appeal to a more general public who bought a song if they liked it and got to hear about it and left it in the shops if they didn't. The loss of the band's American market two years on from their last hit single is clearly a killer blow for The Hollies and this song sounds like them grieving over the fact that this is going to be harder to come back from than ever before. No matter what The Hollies do, changing styles from Merseybeat to psychedelia to orchestral ballads to 'Long Cool Woman' style rockers, they never ever managed to get two really big hits in a row from the same 'source'. No matter how hard they tried to find a new successful formula, there's always 'goodbye' soon afterwards and the band have to start all over again.

'Write On' is clearly a more thoughtful album than usual for The Hollies. Lacking the sparkle and colourful production colours of the high budget 'Another Night' and lacking the disco swagger of 'Russian Roulette' to come it's one of those albums doomed to be forgotten and overlooked and to some extent you can see why: this is perhaps the most uneven album of the band's 1970s run and only sparks to life on the three romantic ballads at the album's core (plus the one self-deprecating joke at the start). But even when this album messes up it never does so badly and usually does so because the band are trying to either punch above their weight of visit a destination far beyond their normal comfort zones. For this the band should be applauded. The Hollies could easily have recorded a whole album of 'Air That I Breathe' soundalikes in a desperate chance of getting another copycat of their last big hit, but no - instead they branch out into country-rock, prog rock, rockabilly and calypso. To do all that, even when there was 'no one listening to their song' takes guts and it's 'Write On's courage that impresses the most - even if it lags behind certain other period Hollies LPs for sheer listenability or ideas.


A NOW COMPLETE LIST OF HOLLIES ARTICLES TO READ AT ALAN’S ALBUM ARCHIVES:

'Stay With The Hollies' (1964) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-hollies-stay-with-hollies-1964.html

'In The Hollies Style' (1964) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-hollies-in-hollies-style-1964-album.html
'Would You Believe?' (1966) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-hollies-would-you-believe-1966.html

'For Certain, Because' (1966) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-hollies-for-certain-because-1966.html

'Evolution' (1967)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-11-hollies-evolution-1967.html

'Butterfly' (1967)  
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-14-hollies-butterfly-1967.html

‘Hollies Sing Hollies’ (1969)  http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-hollies-sing-hollies-1969.html

'Confessions Of The Mind' (1970)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-39-hollies-confessions-of-mind.html
'A Distant Light' (1971) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-hollies-distant-light-1971-album.html

'Romany' (1972)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-52-hollies-romany-1972.html

'Out On The Road' (1973)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/news-views-and-music-issue-62-hollies.html

'Headroom' (Allan Clarke solo) (1973)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-57-allan-clarke-headroom-1973.html
'The Hollies' (1974) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-hollies-hollies-1974-album-review.html
'Another Night' (1975) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-hollies-another-night-1975.html

‘Write On’ (1976) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/the-hollies-write-on-1976.html
'A Crazy Steal' (1978) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-hollies-crazy-steal-1978.html

'5317704' (1979)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-110-hollies.html
'What Goes Around..." (1983) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-hollies-what-goes-around-1983.html
‘Then, Now, Always’ (2009) https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/the-hollies-then-now-always-2009.html

'Radio Fun' (BBC Sessions) (2012)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-145-hollies.html
The Best Unreleased Hollies Recordings
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-hollies-rarities-ii-best-unreleased.html
Surviving TV Footage 1964-2010 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-hollies-surviving-tv-footage-1964.html
Non-Album Songs Part One: 1963-1970 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-hollies-non-album-songs-part-one.html
Non-Album Songs Part Two: 1971-2014 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-non-album-songs-part-two.html

Live/Solo/Compilation/US Editions/Covers Albums Part One 1964-1975 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-livesolocompilationouttakes.html
Live/Solo/Compilation/US Editions/Covers Albums Part Two 1976-2014 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-livesolocompilationouttakes_21.html

Simon and Garfunkel: Surviving TV Clips 1966-2012















Simon and Garfunkel don't seem the most obviously visual of the AAA bands, but it was the film 'The Graduate' that brought them their first really big success and both musicians ended up actors in later life - Arty eventually appeared in seven films, while Paul wrote his own film script 'One Trick Pony' as well as starring in it. Even together Simon and Garfunkel concerts were often big spectacles, in contrast to the duo's image as low-key performers of songs about loneliness and isolation to tiny audiences: in actual fact S and G played to two of the biggest crowds the world has ever seen, at The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and their own reunion in Central Park in 1981 (Paul's solo gig there ten years later wasn't exactly small either). What the pair didn't really do much in their respective careers was make music videos, preferring the work to stand for itself, although a handful of TV performances of them in their prime have survived the years (sadly nothing from the duo's first career as Tom and Jerry seem to have survived; their single 'Hey Schoolgirl' in 1957 almost certainly receiving a boost from appearing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, sadly confirmed as being wiped). Gone too are a handful of early appearances the pair made, so that our column doesn't start until the pair are already on the way to becoming household names though they almost certainly made some earlier appearances. Thankfully a lot has survived intact though, with Simon and Garfunkel becoming so big that every TV network from late 1967 onwards made sure to keep everything!

You may notice, though, that this list is dominated by appearances Simon and Garfunkel made apart, after their solo careers start in earnest circa 1972. This made some kind of sense when we were planning this book - fourteen entries as a duo would have made this one of the shortest AAA articles on our list, while our usual rules about not including 'solo' appearances seemed a bit daft when there were only two people in the group to begin with. So instead this is a bit of a compromise: as well as every S and G TV/film appearance we can find we've gone for all the most interesting appearances made by either Paul or Arty without going into detail with every single interview either of them gave, though we've nominated a few of particular interest and most of the music performances. Now, inevitably, this won't be a complete list - there's bound to be something that was shown in America that never even got a mention in Europe and without a time machine or a decent list of everything the pair ever did (strangely there doesn't seem to be one online) this is as close as I'm going to get. At least on this budget! Note too that we've already reviewed 'The Graduate' and 'One Trick Pony' in detail elsewhere so we're not going to go through all that again (ditto to some extent the two 'Concerts In Central Park' where we've reviewed the soundtrack CDs in detail so we've only re-written the basics here). We've also skipped what once were videos and which now only seem to exist in audio (though these are worth checking out too via Simon and Garfunkel News' Youtube page: there seems to have been at least one enterprising S and G fan with a tape machine permanently set next to their tv!) Please note too that the datings are even more approximate for this column than they usually are - often you can work out when an appearance comes in an artist' repertoire from the songs they sing but of course Paul had already written most of the first three S and G albums before they ever ended up on TV! (More often than not we've judged this order from the length of Arty's hair!...Do write in if you have any better ideas!)

As per the past twenty-four books, you get to share in the fun: by clicking the video button at the top of the page if you're reading this online or by visiting 'AAA Playlist #25: Simon and Garfunkel' if you're reading the book (here's the link if you can't find it by searching for it: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4FFD5DB39BD880F3 ) Now, Youtube is an ever restless beast, chopping and changing on the whim of legalities and availability so you may well be able to find these videos from different sources or discover that sadly one of the things we talk about here isn't there anymore. Don't panic: chances are someone will re-load it one day (and if not I'll have a go!) and if any of the performances we've listed here are available officially (sadly not many this time) then we'll be sure to tell you what format you can buy it on. Like so many of our AAA stars, Simon and Garfunkel really need a decent career retrospective on DVD to go alongside their Concert In The Park and The Graduate; given the hoops that so many people have jumped through getting the licensing rights for some of our lesser known acts it seems odd that the only people who've even vaguely tried are the vaguely-legal-but-certainly-not-official DVDs (which tend to merge parts of 'Central Park' with Paul's 'You're The One' DVD). On the other-hand there's a blooming petition out there with thousands of names on it pleading with Paul to release his own 'Concert In The Park' gig from 1991 on...something, but so far it's only ever been shown on TV, once. *Sigh* tracking down this little lot might be a long time coming away from Youtube...

So here we are, in the blue light of Youtube, wondering as the television burns how much Simon and Garfunkel moved away from each other - then returned...

1.    Let's Sing Out! ('Richard Cory' 'The Sound Of Silence' 'Homeward Bound' 'A Most Peculiar Man' 'He Was My Brother' 'I Am A Rock' Canadian TV 1966)
Most of the duo's early American TV appearances seem to have been wiped, so hooray for Canada for keeping a full 18 minute clip (comprised of two separate sections) of an impossibly young looking Paul and Arty. The pair have just released their second LP 'Sounds Of Silence' and are announced as a duo who 'have already released one important song before disappearing into oblivion'. The pair are clearly deeply nervous dressed in their snazzy suits and Art looks terrified on his opening mumbled dialogue (as he tells the story of the poem 'Richard Cory' Paul used as the basis for his song), staring at the camera like a Bright Eyes rabbit caught in the headlights. Paul also knocks his microphone stand as he introduces 'The Sound Of Silence' as a song about 'the inability to communicate', trying very hard to pretend that that didn't just happen. He later introduces 'I Am A Rock' as 'my new rather neurotic song'. S and G are far happier performing though and turn in some great performances of six of their best early songs. 'Richard Cory' gets an extra glare of folk protest at the camera, unusual for the duo.  'Sounds' especially is an interesting version: Arty sings the '10,000 people, maybe more' verse alone (does Paul forget his place?) and it's far faster than any other version the pair will do, with Paul clearly still with the solo 'Songbook' arrangement in his head. 'Homeward Bound' is quite lovely, a note perfect rendition. 'A Most Peculiar Man' is in many ways the most impressive song of the set: Arty tried out a few new harmony lines and Paul seems to be treating the song as jazz, with no obvious moment when he's going to start singing again, yet Arty knows exactly where he's going without even looking at his partner. By contrast a fast and furious 'He Was My Brother' is gloriously scrappy, more righteous indignation than perfection, Art trying to out-stare the camera while Paul stares at his guitar. The pair are still using the line '...Mississippi's going to be your burying place', censored for the album version, perhaps in respect of the fact that the South America lynch mobs have a long way to come to Canada! Perhaps because it's so new, S and G keep to the script for 'I Am A Rock', using an arrangement that's impressively close to the record. So ends the first, primitive but clearly popular, entry on our list with two very 1950s looking ladies in the audience mouthing to each other 'hey that was pretty good wasn't it?' It sure was!...

2.    Hollywood-A-Go-Go! ('The Sound Of Silence' US TV 1966)
Organised by KHJ Boss Radio, their local DJ Sam Riddle introduces the pair's, erm, 'new hit' that's actually two years old by now. There's a comedy routine where Riddle asked the pair what their 'real' names were backstage - ironic, really, given that the pair have been using pseudonyms for much of their career until now! This mimed version of the 'electric' version of 'Silence' doesn't even try to pretend that there's a full band on stage, with Paul taking up most of the camera shot waving his limbs wildly on an uncomfortable looking stool while Arty mimes on the floor. Paul's relishing the chance to act like his hero Elvis, with as much hip-swivelling and pouting at the camera as you can do from a stool, while Arty has already perfected the art of looking bored.

3.    Music Hall-De-Paris ('I Am A Rock' 'The Sound Of Silence' 'A Most Peculiar Man' French TV 1966 - possibly three different shows)
Meanwhile, over in Europe, Simon and Garfunkel are on French TV. Gone are the suits in favour of the more casual look that will be a mainstay of S and G's wardrobe for years to come and the performance feels pretty casual too by their own high standards; it's not that it's bad by any means, but it's one of the few occasions of the fourteen duo entries here that don't feature Simon and Garfunkel nailing every line in synchronisation (Paul also hits a wrong last note on 'Peculiar Man', perhaps the only mistake on the whole list!) The pair are notably more comfortable in front of a camera, playing up to it and playing up to each other. 'Sounds Of Silence' is probably the strongest of the three - all the songs feel a little rushed, but this is the one song that suits the slightly impatient tone of desperation. S and G don't speak to camera this time - or at least they don't on my copy, which admittedly seems edited (it seems likely given what we've learnt from other European TV shows that although all three clips were clearly shot on the same day they were used across three different shows).

4.    Twein('Anji' 'Richard Corey' 'Homeward Bound' The Leaves That Are Green' 'I Am A Rock' 'A Most Peculiar Man' 'A Poem On The Underground Wall' 'He Was My Brother' 'The Sound Of Silence' Holland TV 1966)
One of the best - certainly one of the longest - S and G TV shows is also probably the closest to their concerts of the time, with the two men standing in front of microphones, dressed in polo necks and T-shirts. Arty, the future actor, already seems to be looking for the camera wherever it goes, peering over Paul's shoulder for some scenes. The music is pretty good too, opening with the final flourish of 'Anji' and moving on breathlessly without a pause through an even longer set of Paul's best early songs. 'Richard Cory' has now gained some furious guitar strumming after the title character 'puts a bullet through his head', the earliest TV performance of 'The Leaves That Are Green' is extra-specially beautiful (and poignant, given how young the pair of singers look on this song about aging) and 'The Sound Of Silence' is greeted with a long speech from Art about being 'about isolation not nationally but emotionally', with Paul looking confused. Paul is in a chatty mood, now blaming Arty for calling 'I Am A Rock' 'my most neurotic song - I think it's about loneliness!' Arty makes his own pained look to camera, but says nothing. Paul also talks at length about his time in London and being inspired to write 'A Most Peculiar Man' after an article he read in a local newspaper that seemed an insufficient epitaph for a life lived and how Paul wanted to provide more. This leads into a particularly strong version of that song, probably the highlight of the set. 'A Poem On The Underground Wall' also makes its debut here, the only track from the forthcoming  'Parsley Sage' which Arty mentions was 'written only about two months ago'. It's another strong version, though Arty is frustratingly off-mike with this one more of a solo effort. By contrast 'He Was My Brother' is pretty awful, slowed down past all recognition and losing the bite of the original (any original - take your pick from Paul in 1963, 1965 or S and G in 1964!) The rather earnest beatnik looking audience lap it all up though and nearly smile near the end they're that moved!

5.    Hullabaloo ('Homeward Bound' US TV 1966)
After getting the audience up to speed about 'The Sound Of Silence', the Hulabaloo host George Hamilton rather optimistically refers to 'Homeward Bound' as the duo's 'next hit', apparently forgetting about 'I Am A Rock'. This performance is unusual in that S and G perform live to a pre-recorded backing band who provide a far busier arrangement than anything on the record - in fact their vocals are hard to hear over the electric guitar. Given the circumstances this is a spirited hang-on-to-your-seats performance.

6.    Unknown ('The Sound Of Silence' 'He Was My Brother' French TV 1967)
Oddly, Simon and Garfunkel spend time plugging their just-released album 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme' by...playing two songs from their first album, now three years old! (Unless of course the dating is wrong, but the fashions of our duo and the audience both look distinctly 'hipper' somehow, even in black and white, so I'll stick by it for now). Paul sits in front in stripes while Arty leans behind him in black, both of them apparently 'in' the audience which is a neat touch and everyone in shot relishes a fine couple of performances with an especially goose-pimpling 'shot him dead because he hated what was wrong!' line on 'He Was My Brother'. The duo also sing '...Oh God' at the end of the song, the only time it seems S and G do this 'Simon Songbook' version of the arrangement. 'Sounds' meanwhile has gone back to being acoustic and raw.

7.    Live At Granada ('Benedictus' 'He Was My Brother' 'The Sound Of Silence' 'Anji' 'The Leaves That Are Green' 'Blessed' 'I Am A Rock' 'Homeward Bound' 'The 59th Street Bridge Street Song (Feelin' Groovy)' 'A Poem On The Underground Wall' 'For Emily Wherever I May Find Her' '7 O'Clock News-Silent Night' 'A Hazy Shade Of Winter' 'At The Zoo' UK TV 1967)
S and G finally make their way over to Britain, Paul no doubt keen to re-acquaint himself with some old friends and familiar places. To be honest he seems a little hungover here, struggling to keep up with a now short-haired Arty unusually, so perhaps he got nervous at the thought of all his old friends seeing him again a star or maybe he just had one party too many? Sadly the opening, the earliest surviving performance of 'Benedictus', is cut short and the same goes for a second 'Anji' and 'Leaves That Are Green' as if the pair are in a hurry to get somewhere (maybe there really is a party for Paul and Arty...) The pair don't do any speaking either across the entire show, which is a shame given the period and importance of many of the songs. Some tracks here are really good though, with a breathtaking TV debut for 'Blessed' (thankfully heard in full) complete with Paul's unusual eccentric guitar tunings and it's polar opposite the fluffy 'Feelin' Groovy' is, well, groovy. Better still is a powerful 'For Emily' with Art in full flow and leaving Paul far behind as he absolutely belts this usually fragile tune. Alas a brave stab at repeating '7 O Clock News/Silent Night' doesn't work: the pair are slightly flat and the re-recording by some British newscaster with a whole new script lacks the same effect (hunger strikes and security scares are sad, but not as sad as civil rights strikes and Vietnam escalation). Note the early appearance of two songs from 'Bookends' which were at the time of recording brand new singles both. 'Winter' is suitably stark and bitter, though 'At The Zoo' still sounds a little flimsy. Only a very poor quality copy of the whole ITV show seems to have survived, looking as if someone has smeared vaseline over the lens (ITV had some weird effects at times I know, but I think this one is just the age and copy of the print!) How great that it exists at all, though, when so many other UK shows were wiped long ago!

8.    The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour ('Cloudy' 'The 59th Bridge Street Song' 'Homeward Bound' US TV 1967)
Our first shot of S and G singing is over a picture of a blue sky to introduce 'Cloudy' as S and G appear on their most prestigious show yet. Sadly the duo don't do any clowning (except when the Smothers Brothers turn up out of nowhere for the 'ba-das' on 'Feelin' Groovy' - Arty really doesn't look amused at all!) and don't seem to have understood the thing about being in colour as they both dress in black turtle-necks for the first song. This despite the fact that the pair are for once singing their lighter more colourful material, with two of the silliest songs in their canon. The pair dress in different clothes for each song (Arty wears an orange jumper on 'Homeward Bound' which tests the colour TVs no end!) suggesting all three were used on different shows, but I doubt they'd have kept returning back to the studios and otherwise look the same - chances are two songs were saved for 'later'.

9.    Monterey Pop Festival ('Homeward Bound' 'The Sound Of Silence' 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' Live June 1967)
'You dig those red lights, huh? Rather reminds me of a good time!' The full eight song set played by S and G as the headliners at the first night of three down in Monterey is a curious set indeed - Arty barely speaks and Paul won't shut up, apparently stoned out of his mind on something. Unused to playing such big crowds at the time, both are clearly dealing with nerves in their own way and seem less 'together' than the earlier appearances in this list. Only one song made the film of the festival in colour, with 'Feelin' Groovy' picked for it's pure hippie-blissfulness, though it's far from the best performance the pair gave that night. A particularly sweet 'Homeward Bound'  is far better if less hippie-friendly, while 'The Sound Of Silence' has gone back to being slow and haunted again, instead of fast and furious. Two more performances, both in black and white, turned up on the 30th anniversary DVD set 'Monterey Pop' in 1997, though sadly only in black and white 9and thus the earliest officially available S and G footage); presumably the rest of the show exists too somewhere as director D A Pennebaker kept everything he could and would surely have shot the complete show of the first night's headline act.

10. Kraft Music Hall ('A Poem On The Underground Wall' 'For Emily Wherever I May Find Her' 'Overs' 'Anji' 'Patterns' 'The Sound Of Silence' 'The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy')' US TV Live January 1968)
The most 'arty' TV appearance made by Paul and Arty comes from NBC's music show which ran all the way from 1933 to 1971. The show starts not with an introduction or an announcer but footage of a train pulling into a station overlaid with the opening words from 'A Poem On The Underground Wall'. The sound is rather suspect (the microphone apparently catching what the audience hears rather than the pair's voices direct, complete with lots of echo). Paul announces that 'For Emily' and 'Overs' make an unlikely pair - he denies reports that Emily is 'imaginary' and is instead about a 'belief' in another person, with the second song about what happens when that belief has gone. Arty shines on the former again, Paul on the latter and they're clearly the highlights of an uneven set. This despite a tacky string quartet overdubbed on top of 'For Emily' for reasons unclear (there isn't one on the album!) Another highlight is the first surviving TV appearance of 'Patterns', a much under-rated song, even if it is just Paul and Arty singing along to the record. The chat is interesting too, Paul talking about learning 'Anji' off Davy Graham in England and Arty talking about how he feels protective of songs that Paul writes but feels that some songs 'go beyond one person' (before starting a near-solo 'The Sound Of Silence' if you're wondering). The most unexpected moment is when Paul invites his brother Eddie whose 'very close' to play guitar on it as a duet, symbolically sitting on Arty's stool while the singer walks behind the cameras for a top-drawer performance (Eddie Simon still gets stopped in the street from this one appearance!) An excellent performance, one of the best on this list.

11. The Andy Williams Show ('Scarborough Fair' 'Mrs Robinson' US TV April 1968)
Crooner Andy Williams doesn't seem a natural fit for the duo and he must have been incredibly off-putting, sitting in the middle of the duo as they sing their two most popular 'new' songs (both released as singles in 1968) and staring at them throughout. At least he comes in handy for singing parts of the 'Canticle' when Paul or Arty are busy though, even if his voice is clearly not up to their own. Sadly our first glimpse of a performance of 'Mrs Robinson' is just Simon and Garfunkel miming to a tape.

12. Songs Of America (TV Special 1969)
'I must remind you that starving a child is an act of violence!' We've talked about this show at length as part of both our review of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and in our DVD section, but it's worth discussing again as it's of huge importance in the S and G canon. The duo were invited to make a TV special by Bell Telephone of all people for the release of their new album 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' although in fact the delays caused by Arty still filming 'Catch 22' meant that in the end most of the public got to hear the songs here first barring the single 'The Boxer'. Bell pulled out and got nervous about the amount of 'humanist politics' as so many democrat presidents were shown - S and G replied that the only reason only democrats were featured was because those were the ones who tended to get shot! Rather than just make a standard concert or documentary, a newly radicalised Paul took the opportunity to make some political statements, using the gospel sound of 'Bridge' to accompany footage of JFK's funeral train for instance, a nostalgic shot of early 60s images to 'So Long Frank Lloyd Wright' broadcast at the decade's final end, shots of Latin American poverty to the strain of 'El Condor Pasa' or the opening burst of the optimistic 'America' that moves from pictures of the Statue of Liberty to rubbish dumps and protests and riots. This is set against an interview in which Paul speaks for a generation that 'it felt we were on the verge of something great - and we missed it!' and a chat between the two singers over America's 20th birthday in 1977 where Paul says with all seriousness 'Do you think we'll make it?' (The country does - the duo don't). Highlights speech-wise include Paul being quizzed on whether he'd make a good president (he'd be great, but writing songs is 'more important' he jokes), Paul discussing songwriting ('It's making pictures without pictures!')  Arty, who disagreed with Paul's more open political comments, looks deeply uncomfortable during most of the show although he does get the best line of the show as Paul rambles on about Beethoven breaking all the rules when making music and dead-panning to the camera 'Beethoven was a fool!' Highlights musically include a rehearsal take of 'Bridge' back when it's still a softer gentler ballad (Paul, with nothing to do, yawns his head off!), frenetic and scrappy live performances of 'Mrs Robinson' 'For Emily' 'Kathy's Song' 'The Sound Of Silence' (with drums!) and 'The Boxer' back when it was brand new plus Paul busking 'Mystery Train' in a hotel room as Arty tries to sleep! This is also the only place you can legally see/hear a burst of 'Cuba Si Nixon No', the song that helped break Simon and Garfunkel up, though if anything Arty looks more comfortable singing it than Paul and has talked about the show far more fondly than his partner since. The whole show then ends, like 'Bridge', with 'Song For The Asking'. A fascinating glimpse into both a country and a musical institution in disarray, well worth looking out for. The controversial show wasn't well received though and was never repeated past 1970, finally being made available on the deluxe edition of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' in 2009.

13. Hitscene ('Baby Driver' Australian TV 1970)
The closest thing to a Simon and Garfunkel music video is a promo made for this 'Bridge' album track made especially for the Australian market. random shots of random cars and balloon men weren't my interpretation of the lyrics though, although there's no way a 'real' description of what's going on in the last verse would have been broadcast on TV anywhere in 1970!

14. Unknown ('59th Bridge Street Song' 'Mrs Robinson' 'Punky's Dilemma' French TV 1970)
Fittingly we end up back where we (nearly) began in France, for a slow and muted performance of three of Simon and Garfunkel's liveliest songs, which all sound here more like funeral marches. It's obvious that this is an 'end', with Paul perched on a higher chair refusing to look at Arty on a lower stool (at least until 'Mrs Robinson' when they get the giggles and start enjoying themselves again!) Overall, though, this is easily weakest surviving S and G performance, clearly recorded at a difficult time.

15. Sesame Street ('Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard' 'El Condor Pasa' 'Bingo' 'St Judy's Comet' Paul Only US TV 1972-1976)
We've lumped all sorts of programmes together because we're not quite sure when they were but a dating of 1972-1976 seems likely across the quartet. Paul struggled so hard to get wok that he had to work as the back-up band to Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch...only kidding! Though Paul does play back-up for the first time in his life to a very talented and enthusiastic four-year-old whose meant to be sitting quietly as Paul sings his new single 'Me and Julio' but is instead inspired to make her own charming rhyme. Paul looks worried, then goes with it, grinning as his new co-star instantly understand the song's infectious groove and comes up with an improvised song about dancing and birds in the sky. She even comes up with a second verse when Paul whistles the song's signature instrumental break, before realising he can't compete and winding the song up to much rock-star whooping and big fat grins all round. 'Uncle Paul' was the perfect guest for Sesame Street, the one children's show that never talked down to its audience and treated them as equals - he's never been better or more natural than here. Although it has to be said that the law-breaking Me and Julio probably aren't the best role models for a children's series! The little girl deserved her own record deal too (rumours went around that she grew up to be singer Macy Gray, who would have been about five at the time and therefore the right age, but it seems unlikely: surely she'd have mentioned working with Paul Simon and Big Bird on her CV by now?) 'El Condor Pasa' is more 'normal', but even this version sounds different with Paul substituting a flamenco guitar part for the absent Los Incas backing and perched uncomfortably on a box. A third clip, probably taped later but we've bunged it in here all the same, features Paul 'teaching' his son Harper how to record songs in the studio, with father and son duetting on 'Bingo', the song about a farmer's dog. We'd like to think Paul actually taped it for an AAA tribute album dedicated to our own mascot, but he's actually taking part in a 'this is what people do at work' feature that was a regular back on Sesame Street at the time back then. Sweet. Paul also sings a surprisingly fast version of 'St Judy's Comet', his lullaby for his young son Harper, after telling us his despair at the fact that his boy 'liked to stay up pretty late'. This time the bored looking children seem to have been persuaded to stay quiet while one child has clearly been bribed into telling Paul 'that's nice!' The first clip of 'Me and Julio' is available on 'Sesame Street: Old School Volume One: 1969-1974' alongside appearances by such celebrities as Bert and Ernie and none other than Grace Slick voicing the 'pinball' machine counting up to twelve! Sadly the others aren't available officially as yet.

16. The Dick Cavett Show ('American Tune' 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' 'Love Me Like A Rock' 'Still Crazy After All These Years' Paul Only US TV 1974)
Paul's appearance on our old friend Dick Cavett's chat show is less manic than his earlier chats with Janis Joplin John and Yoko et al, with Paul in a serious frame of mind (if less serious than George Harrison was!) A gorgeous fragile version of 'American Tune' starts off Paul's section before an upbeat 'Loves Me Like A Rock' and the gospel version of 'Bridge' familiar from the 'Live Rhymin' album. The chat doesn't reveal an awful lot, but there is a fascinating moment where Paul talks about getting writer's block and how he can't work out where to go next with a song he's working on. Giving the audience a sneak preview he then proceeds to play the first verse for 'Still Crazy After All These Years' and jokingly asks the host for suggestions (none of which he actually uses!) It's the middle eight that's missing, the 'four in the morning, whacked out, yawning' part - everything else is, in typical Paul Simon version, very nearly perfect already.

17. The Grammy Awards 1974
We don't usually include award ceremonies in our list but this one is a lot of fun! John Lennon, at a loose end during his 'lost weekend' plays host alongside Paul - no not that Paul, 'this' Paul - leading to many jokes between the two. Following a quick joke with third co-host Andy Williams (who was married to wife Claudine before a high-profile split) there's some very stagey patter that John and Paul send up no end. Apparently the Williams' marriage started off as 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and ended up as 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Lennon, surprisingly, roots not for his old pal Elton John but Roberta Flack in the 'best production' category while Paul struggles to stay professional. Olivia Newton John wins - and who should come up to recieve an award on her behalf but...no, it couldn't be could it? Art Garfunkel! Lennon jokes 'which of you is Ringo?' while Paul laughs 'I thought I told you stay in the car!' and both of them ask the other 'when are you guys getting back together again?' Art gets in a bit of a dig as he replies 'Are you still writing, Paul?' Lennon adds 'he's so serious isn't he?' as Arty, in his fake tuxedo jacket, leaves the stage while all Paul can do is grin and nod! John and Paul were surprisingly never asked to host the show again, but there is another appearance by an ex-Beatle on our list coming up...

18. Michael Parkinson Show ('American Tune' 'Homeward Bound' UK TV 1975)
Paul rambles a little in this UK interview and is most interesting when he's talking about his memories of England and his time with Kathy. A lovely version of his Widnes-centred 'Homeward Bound' follows, sounding odd without Art's harmonies alongside, before another version of 'American Tune' oft-seen in UK compilation shows for some reason.

19. Cher ('Bridge Over Troubled Water' 'All I Know' 'Up Up and Away' Art With Friends US TV 1975)
Art, meanwhile, is having fun back home and is plugging his 'Breakaway' album with the help of Cher and her short-lived solo chat show, the sequel to the one with former husband Sonny Bono. Art is, apparently, 'rarely seen on television' - which must have come as a shock to those who've seen the most of the proceeding list - but this is in all likelihood his first prime time appearance as a solo act. With Jimmy Webb as his only accompanist, Art sings a lovely slow version of 'Bridge' which misses the orchestra at the end but still builds nicely. Art and Cher then have a terrible comedy stint deciding who likes Jimmy's songs more before they agree to sing them as a duet: 'All I Know' works rather well, with Cher singing the deeper part, but the tacky 'Up Up and Away' doesn't suit either singer much.

20. Paul Simon: Still Crazy After All These Years ('Still Crazy After All These Years' 'Homeward Bound' 'I Do It For Your Love' '50 Ways To Leave Your Lover' 'Love Me Like A Rock' 'My Little Town' 'American Tune' Paul Only, UK TV December 1975)
After plugging his 'Still Crazy' album at home, Paul embarked on a rare visit back to Britain for a prime time TV special 'Simply Simon' which aired the day after Boxing Day. And simple is the word: unlike future shows there are no skits, no monologues and not even much chat from the stage as Paul simply sings a series of old and new friends in front one of the cheapest looking TV sets imaginable - not that we get to see much of them with Paul's face in close-up for much of the show. Paul is backed mainly by just his guitar until the Jesse Dixon Singers make their inevitable - and final - appearance on a messy but spirited  'Loves Me Like A Rock'. The highlight comes when Paul forgets the middle to 'Homeward Bound' and has to come clean, admitting that his memory's been leading him astray for most of the last verse and he's been wondering how to get out of it! Thankfully he remembers enough to go on his way and gets through the rest of the song without incident. The other songs of interest are the rarely performed 'I Do It For Your Love', one of the new songs in the set which sounds quite different here with a lovely lazy opening made up of a harmonica and guitar and a unique performance of then-new single 'My Little Town' which sounds even more desperate and lonely without Garfunkel's harmonies. All in all a fun special which as far as I know has never been repeated or released officially - it would make a fine accompaniment to a deluxe edition of 'Still Crazy' edition one day, especially with the following few Paul Simon items on it through to 1977 as well...

21. Saturday Night Live ('Homeward Bound' 'Here Comes The Sun' Paul and friend US TV 1976)
Fans had been crying for a reunion between 'Paul' and 'George' for years and they finally got what they wanted: sort of...Instead it was dry humourists Paul Simon and George Harrison blowing people's minds in a completely unexpected duet that included the pair matching harmonies on each other's songs. Heard in this way, as simple acoustic folk-rock tunes, you can really hear the similarities between the two writers as Paul is right at home on the 'smiles returning to the faces' verse of 'Here Comes The Sun' as well as the high harmonies (listen out for Paul's charming ad lib into the solo 'here it comes ye-e-ah' which is so Simon and Garfunkel, even in the context of a Beatles track). Sadly George is quieter on 'Homeward Bound' but he too takes a verse - the 'endless stream of cigarettes and magazines' one when he puts on a very transatlantic accent. The guitar picking too is very similar from both men, who are clearly having the time of their lives sharing the spotlight with someone whose work they each remember. It's a rare moment when suspect comedy show Saturday Night Live feels as important and substantial as everybody always say it was instead of ending up as unfathomable jokes about politicians! Magic...

22. Top Of The Pops ('I Believe' Art Only UK TV 1976)
Now that Paul is safely back home, it's Art's turn to fly to England for what is amazingly the first ever appearance of either Simon or Garfunkel on Top Of The Pops. Though Arty's 'Breakaway' single never did that well over here, it's the start of a love affair that will see Arty's records reach #1s time and time again over here, even when they miss the charts completely at home. You really feel for Arty, always a slightly nervy performer, as he sings live standing on a podium in the middle of nowhere looking most exposed while the traditionally bored looking TOTP audience sway around him as if they're dancing to some upbeat disco number. The drumming of this hastily re-recorded performance (there's no other musician on stage) is truly abysmal and Art looks deeply uncomfortable...

23. The Paul Simon Special ('Something So Right' 'I Do It For Your Love' 'Love Me Like A Rock' 'Still Crazy After All These Years' 'Old Friends' 'The Boxer' US TV 1977)
The greatest video in this list, though, is another rarely seen Paul Simon special released to promote the 'Greatest Hits Etc' compilation. This show builds on both of Paul's recent successful forays into television, using the talents of the Saturday Night Live crew to re-make the BBC 'Simply Simon' special but with more wow-power. It's clearly in retrospect a first try out before filming 'One Trick Pony' too, Paul's next project, with plenty of shots of back-stage and the editing room which Paul was getting to know well. The big event here, both then and now, is that this that this is the first time Paul and Arty were seen back together again since their split seven years earlier with a note-perfect rendition of 'Old Friends', a perfect choice as the two men grow closer in age to the 'seventy' mentioned in the song. However Paul cleverly takes away the hugeness of this reunion by commenting on the stupidity of the reunion. Instead of seeing the two in dazzling lights we see them back stage, being drilled through a comedy routine where they're supposed to greet each other naturally and then start singing, as if there's been no past feud between them at all. 'I don't even believe he's your friend let alone your old friend!' snarls the TV production manager, played by Charles Grodin with real zeal. Lily Tomlin (as Paul's only friend in the whole production) and Chevy Chase appear too, though both are upstaged by Paul's weary glances to camera as he tries to bring the audience on-side and reveal to them how quickly this special is growing out of hand. Paul spends most of his time complaining and being told he's worrying too much as his face is ignored in favour of a close-up of his boots, nearly doesn't get let in by the security guard into his own show, being forced to wear a hideous orange jumper and wilting under the pressure of being told so many times  that '50 million Americans' will be watching his every move... Musically this is a great show too, with most of the 'One Trick Pony' band accompanying Paul on some lovely new arrangements: Richard Tee's piano filling in for the strings turns 'Something So Right' from introvert ballad into extrovert pop song, an intimate 'I Do It For Your Love' with Paul singing higher and slower than the record and a surprisingly upbeat 'The Boxer' that's almost skiffle! Another fine fun show with lots of genuine comedy moments (more than the Saturday Night Live team usually have) that's never been repeated and has never appeared on anything official: again that deluxe edition 'Still Crazy' idea is sounding like a groovy idea...

24. Late In The Evening (Paul Only Music Video/Film Trailer 1979)
A highly unusual music video-come-film trailer which far from simply repeating the music from the hit single features Paul's creation 'Jonah Levin' and his band performing the track live 'in character' the way Jonah does some of the other tracks in the film. This 'Late In The Evening' has more muscle, being more funk or soul than pop and Paul sings at a higher pitch, while the horn section in the middle sound more out of place than ever. Paul sings the last verse in tandem with Richard Tee, a great idea they really should have kept for the single. Fascinatingly different...

25. Bright Eyes (Art Plus Rabbits Music Video 1979)
Talking of 'late', here's Art's first promo for this pretty Mike Batt song about death released in tandem with another film, 'Watership Down'. Though a cartoon, neither are what you might call child-friendly, dealing with adult subjects in adult ways and Garfunkel nails the song completely with his pure sweet voice showing no signs that he's actually singing for a cartoon about bunny rabbits. Arty isn't actually seen in the music video which includes scenes from the film in an effort to sell extra tickets - not that 'Watership Down' needed it as it remained the highest grossing UK animation right up until Aardmann Animation released 'Chicken Run' in the year 2000. Not enough Fiver in the music video for my liking...

26. A Heart In New York (Art Only Music Video 1980)
The first Garfunkel music video to actually feature the singer has the same 'feel' as his recent release 'Bad Timing' with a similar Vaseline-on-the-cameras feel and a bedroom setting. Arty stares at the camera in close-up, just as he did back in the mid-1960s at the start of this list interspersed with clips of aeroplanes, New York skyline and, erm, a rose (maybe they were running short on cutaway shots?!)

27. Scissors Cut (Art Only Music Video 1980)
'A Heart In New York' was an obvious song to promote - it's the only upbeat number from Art's 'Scissors Cut' LP and one that's sure to please his home-town fans. This one, though, is much subtler and harder to pull off, a sad song about a couple splitting up that fits in references to Armageddon in there too. Art, suddenly looking much older, sings the song straight before we cut to a flying pair of scissors that cuts its way through everything in sight. A tad too literal perhaps for one of his better and more moving ballads. Oh and the rose is back with no reason to be in this video either, burning in the flames.

28. Live In Central Park 1981 (TV Concert)
We've already reviewed the soundtrack album in full so it seems to daft to go through all of this one again, but equally daft to ignore it completely. This high profile reunion for a free concert raising awareness for a central park fund is memorable if a bit scruffy, attended by seven million people and watched on television by plenty more. Simon and Garfunkel are understandably nervous and were trying their best to get out of the gig if rumours are to be believed after tense rehearsals and disagreements backstage. Most of these surrounded the use of a band (which S and G had only done on their last tour) and the amount of solo songs in the set, although these are the highlights with the chance to hear Arty sing on several Paul Simon classics with 'Slip Slidin' Away' especially well suited to his voice. There are two quick rock and roll covers in there too, The Everly Brothers' 'Wake Up Little Susie' and Chuck Berry's 'Maybellene' though neither makes much of an impression. The old S and G warhorses don't feel quite as good as they should with disappointingly few surprises and Arty only gets to sing 'A Heart In New York' from his solo albums. You can tell why the pair were disappointed with their performance later as it lacks the hallmarks of perfection the pair were always known for, but the crowd go mad for a reason and it's terrific just to see these two old friends together again, whatever the state of their performance. It's not a very visual show though - the only reason you'd really need to own the DVD is to see the man from the audience interrupt Lennon tribute 'The Late Great Johnny Ace' by giving Paul a message (cut from the soundtrack LP): given that John was shot just a block away makes this a very scary moment and you can see the worry in Paul's face. The DVD was included in the S and G box set 'The Collection' and is arguably the easiest to get hold of every item on this list.

29. The David Letterman Show ('The Late Great Johnny Ace' 'Citizen Of The Planet' Paul Only May 1982)
'Paul Simon and I will move furniture for an hour!' Paul turns up on America's leading (and weirdest) chat show for a half hour chat promoting what will become his 'Hearts and Bones' album and mentions his recent tour with Art Garfunkel in Japan. Paul can't get comfortable and keeps moving his chair and feigns boredom about having to talk about the history of S and G all over again before Letterman starts to ask about his recent breakup with Carrie Fisher, whereby Paul grins and asks to do the S and G history instead. In actual fact once Paul warms up this is the best interview he'll ever give and he ends up talking for so long the show runs out of time to bring out the final guest (Paul gets very embarrassed!) Paul admits that Arty 'periodically gets on my nerves' and 'have a special way of irritating the other person' and is 'a very unusual guy - even when he was ten', but also says that he's a wonderful singer, that theirs is the oldest relationship he's ever had in his life and they have a lot of laughs. There's a great story about Paul knowing Arty at aged ten and spotting him in a supermarket while he's in the queue to buy a 'Captain Marvel' comic - the store owner kicks Art out for shaking every bag of sweets to see which one contains the most! Paul also mentions Arty walking across Japan (a warm-up for walking across America?) Paul's pretty strange himself, claiming to like elevator music versions of his songs! He also talks about wanting to stretch himself as an artist with 'One Trick Pony' and how embarrassed he felt as if he'd let a lot of people down after his first bad reviews and how much he enjoyed writing it in contrast to how awful he felt after the reception. Paul then gets asked about the man who interrupted 'The Late Great Johnny Ace' at 'Central Park', comparing them to his own studio audience. His thoughtful reply takes in the fact that he's been considering his own safety since Lennon's death but that he never did before as people were always climbing on stage in the 1960s to give S and G flowers and that his immediate re-action was one of annoyance that he'd been interrupted delivering a new song he wanted the audience to concentrate on. Paul goes on to say that originally 'The Late Great Johnny Ace' was a film that referred to JFK as much as the original Johnny Ace and it was only when Lennon died too it turned into a fully formed song. Later Paul talks about his friendship with Lennon and how John told him that he'd gone along to see McCartney and assessed him long before he was a Quarrymen and realised that he'd be better off as a bandmate than a rival. As for the performances a nervy Paul is caught unawares and offers all sorts of nervy disclaimers about why this performance might not be one of his best, but his performance of 'Johnny Ace' is a spell-binding one. Paul also busks a song he's just written and hasn't quite finished yet called 'Citizens Of The Planet' - S and G will record it the following year but it won't make the 'Hearts and Bones' LP, instead being abandoned for the next twenty-two years before appearing as a bonus track on the 'Old Friends' live CD.

30. The David Letterman Show (US TV July 1983)
Having enjoyed his solo chat Paul comes back for more with Arty in tow. The pair are plugging their 1983 tours and also what's meant to be their big reunion album which sadly doesn't happen (Arty mentions it once). It takes a whole minute before Simon and Garfunkel begin arguing (most of that being Letterman's introduction!) and Paul admits to feeling 'a bit manic'. Arty replies to Paul's comments of shaking cereal boxes and jokes that he felt Paul was making out he was 'cheap' when he was only trying to get 'value for money'. 'We have a lot more money now' Paul deadpans 'we can get any sweets we want!' Letterman's playing with fire when he asks which one of the two is the leader (Arty says that Paul is 17 days early and Paul jokes that he was born prematurely so Art is older!) The pair are on happier form talking about their days as touring fifteen year olds accompanied by Paul's father and Paul offers his favourite introduction ever from 1957: 'I know you're all waiting to hear Bill Labranoe....but he couldn't be here today so instead here are two guys that sing!' Arty gets the best gag: Paul gets asked about his brother Eddie learning how to juggle and is asked if he ever learnt: 'I already knew, which is why I moved onto philosophy'. Both Simon and Garfunkel then proceed to juggle - only on the Letterman show...

31. You Can Call Me Al (Paul Only Music Video 1986)
One of the most famous clips on this list reunites Paul with his Special co-host Chevy Chase who plays an over-large and exaggerated version of Paul himself. Chevy is a pure extrovert while Paul sits there twiddling his thumbs in his own video, getting up to fetch instruments to play instead (the dead-panned penny whistle solo is hilarious!) The idea was Lorne Michaels, after Paul approached Saturday Night Live for ideas and didn't like their original 'plain' version. The video was highly popular and helped the song a lot in the charts.

32. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes (Paul Only Music Video 1986)
The follow-up is much more ordinary despite being blessed by the presence of Ladysmith Black Mombazo. The group perform behind Paul while being intercut with footage of 'Graceland' being recorded and an ad-hoc recording studio being built in Africa.

33. The Boy In The Bubble (Paul Only Music Video 1986)
A third video from 'Graceland' features an intriguing stop-start animation including a flying accordion and various conga players while Paul is seen singing as a cut-out in a newspaper! It kind of fits this song's feeling of a paranoia at modern life and technology but only in a very clumsy way. These are the days of weird MTV videos though - don't cry, dear reader, don't cry.

34. Homeless (Paul Only Music Video 1986)
Video four is more of a Ladysmith Black Mombazo number with Paul rather lost inside the middle of a giant circle of a capella singers. It's sadly rather ordinary once again.

35. The African Concert (Paul Only 1987)
We've reviewed Paul's Graceland tour more fully in our 'DVD' section. Suffice to say this is a scrappy but important set that introduced many African stars to the American public and gave them all as much space to strut their stuff as Paul. Sadly Paul only performs 'Graceland' songs and only half the album at that, although he does fit in a quick cover of 'Whispering Bells'. As important as this concert is, though, the backing band are ill suited to each other and Paul gives a rather tired performance far below his normal standard.

36. Wogan (c.1987 UK TV Paul only)
Somewhere round the 'Graceland' period Paul talks to radio DJ Terry Wogan on his short-lived interview series about his early days in Tom and Jerry. Paul talks about wanting to be a rock and roll singer from the age of 12 but how he never admitted to anybody and how great it was to have a local top ten hit while still in his teens.

37. Royal Gala ('Bridge Over Troubled Water' Art Only UK TV 1988)
Arty continues his popularity in Britain with a rare post-Central Park TV appearance with a heartfelt but rather breathy 'Bridge' that Arty is clearly struggling to sing for the first time. Performed in front of minor members of the Royal family (as usual the Queen didn't show - you'd think she'd at least given me her tickets if she couldn't be arsed to turn up to these things!) it's one of the more forgettable clips here.

38. The Obvious Child (Paul Only Music Video 1990)
The video for Paul's single from 'Rhythm Of The Saints' starts off with two Brazilians in traditional dance before the familiar clatter of drums played by the same drum troupe as on the album round popular Brazilian monuments (and some steps). Paul is dwarfed by all the tall drummers and wears a grey t-shirt to camouflage against their swirling colours and has never looked happier to keep the spotlight away from him. Sadly though like most of the Graceland videos this is a frustratingly average video for such a classic song.

39. Proof (Paul Only Music Video 1990)
The second 'Saints' single is a more colourful affair in the same vein, with more presence and more interesting buildings while it's the musicians who keep comparatively still compared to Paul. There was a carnival happening in Brazil anyway, so Paul and co just tagged along on the back of a float! Paul and Chevy also team up with Steve Martin to reprise the 'Al' comedy, less funnily this time, with all three dressed as MC Hammer (?!) A song this good still feels as if it deserves something a bit more special, though.

40. Born At The Right Time (Paul Only Music Video 1990)
Yet more of the same as a be-spectacled Paul tried to blend in with Brazilian dress and walk-sings his way across the land.

41. The Concert In The Park (Paul Only 1991)
Once again we've covered this in detail in our live/solo/compilation albums article - sadly we can't review it for our DVD section because it isn't out yet, despite a petition calling for Paul to release it which has received several thousand signatures (including mine - sadly it's long since been deleted) and the fact that it may well be the single best performance in this list. Paul is on top form, mixes several classic older songs with some great new ones from 'Rhythm' that have more life to them somehow in concert away from the studio and gathers around him many of the best players from all eras of his work. Anyone who loves Paul Simon will love this TV concert; anyone who loves percussion will adore it with more drummers than certainly I've ever seen in one place and in fact anyone with ears will love it period. So please release it soon! This version of 'Boy In The Bubble' especially is tremendous, though in truth only a couple of the S and G classics towards the end disappoint, this is a show where nearly everything works.

42. TV-AM (Paul Only UK TV 1991)
What with recent music videos, exclusive clips of Paul rehearsing 'The Obvious Child' and 'Born At The Right Time' and live performances of 'Bridge' and 'Cecilia'. Paul doesn't get much time to talk during this interview. Despite being 35 minutes long there's so much to fit in it's a shame the TV AM hosts spend so much time nattering but Paul does fit in some interesting comments. Paul admits to being pleased with the band's progress given that they haven't played many shows on the tour, that the record is always the 'starting point' for the tour rather than the set arrangement and that he felt it was easier to follow a hit album like 'Graceland' than a flop album like 'Hearts and Bones'. Paul gets defensive discussing the African cultural boycott saga, adds how hard it is for his multicultural band to play some of his songs (there's no Jamaicans in the band so no one is used to playing 'Mother and Child Reunion' for instance) and that the video for 'You Can Call Me Al' only took a day of rehearsal and three takes ('Keeping a straight face is my best comedy move!') That day's special guest is actor David MacCallum (that's one half of Sapphire and Steel if you're old, Ducky in NCIS if you're young!), who also mentions his love and memories of the 1960s music scene but sadly doesn't mention being host for The Byrds' primetime debut back in 1965! Chevy Chase and Steve Martin then turn up to disagree over whether the lyrics to 'Proof' are really 'Poof' or 'Proust!'

43. Unplugged ('Late In The Evening' 'Born At The Right Time' 'Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard' 'Graceland' 'Still Crazy After All These Years' 'Mrs Robinson' 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' 'Something So Right' 'The Boy In The Bubble' 'Homeward Bound' Paul Only US TV May 1992)
The only appearance Paul made on TV in between 'Saints' and 'Capeman' was this slightly clumsy performance in MTV's new format, one which actually features a much heavier sound than most 'unplugged' concerts thanks to all those drums. Unlike many shows in the series this one has never officially been released on video/DVD or as a soundtrack album, but by Paul Simon standards you're not really missing all that much with a band that doesn't really gel and a set-list far too close to the Central Park gig (with the exception of a revived 'Mrs Robinson' who sadly is rather showing her age). The highlights tend to be the most uptempo songs as the slightly chaotic performances suit the 'party' songs best, with a cheeky 'Me and Julio' probably the best thing here. The ballads, though, are a struggle. This is like the victory lap after the 'Central Park' concert but the arrangements are tweaked for the sake of it, the band sound under-rehearsed and the whole thing falls a bit flat.

44. Bernadette (Paul Only Music Video 1997)
'The Capeman' musical was a hard work to promote and the in-depth making-of documentary mainly spent time providing a long list of reasons not to watch it as cast and directors walked out one after each other.
Paul performs the poppiest number from the work himself while surrounded by the musicians from the West End band and on a set that's a rough approximation of the one seen in the show. For all that, though, this song all too clearly wasn't written for Paul to sing and it rather awkwardly keeps changing rhythms and tempos.

45. 'The Capeman On Broadway - A Roll Of The Dice' (Paul Only TV Documentary 1997)
We've already reviewed this fascinating documentary too in our review of 'The Capeman' itself. What was meant to show Paul hard at work crafting a musical on Broadway as the layers slowly fell into place turned into a nightmare as Paul struggled to find sympathetic collaborators to help turn what was in his head into a working production and also refused to bow to the demands of the crew who knew what it took to put musicals on. 'The Capeman' was a deadly compromise that nobody seemed really happy with, the cast almost all being fired weeks before opening night and the new cast under-rehearsed and scared. Paul went through three directors during the course of this musical and you get to see his perfectionist demanding side to the fore, although to be fair everyone around him is as hard on Paul as he is on them. What this show doesn't have is enthusiasm: in one way it's refreshing to see behind the scenes on a musical where people aren't high-fiving and telling everyone how wonderful they are; yet on the other hand a bit of that is exactly what this show needs. If just someone had said to Paul on camera 'what a moving piece of work!' you feel it would have taken the weight of his shoulders, but there's no love in the room here from the actors singing the words to the people making them sing them. The ending of the documentary, when the show stalls and falls after less than two months and gets savaged by the critics, may be one of the grimmest AAA scenes you'll ever see, with everyone trying to pretend it hasn't happened when they know in their hearts this show is over. Finishing and releasing this documentary may have been a contractual necessity but it's also a brave move and proof that not everything talent touches can turn to gold - especially if the other people don't share Paul's vision.

46. 9/11 Benefit ('Bridge Over Troubled Water' 'The Sound Of Silence' Paul Only US TV 2001)
For some reason the concert held in memorial for the victims of 9/11 a mere two months on lies all but forgotten now, buried away in the western world's sub-conscious as something they want to forget. But it's worth digging out again: as well as Paul you get to see fellow AAA members Paul McCartney and Neil Young and all three provide heartfelt performances with more care than usual at this stage in their careers. Paul suddenly looks older and more fragile than he's ever been, all too aware of the fact that he's standing in front of a monument that marks the spot where terror reigned such a short time before. 'Silence' sounds even more pertinent tonight than ever, a tale of what harm mis-communication can do between people who aren't talking to each other, while 'Bridge' turns from eulogy to comfort to triumph with each of its three verses. Strong stuff.

47. Speaking Freely ('The Perfect Moment' 'Everything Waits To Be Noticed' 'The Kid' 'The Bounce' 'The Thread' Art Only US TV 2003)
Art gets the last word with a fifty minute discussion (originally in two parts) promoting his 'Singer' compilation that covers everything from covering The Everly Brothers to the current era. Arty comments on discovering is voice at the age of five, his love of singing in 'tiled stairwells' at school after everyone had gone home, not recognising Paul when they first met accidentally in 1963, the worry over their 'ethnic' names (which they used by 'default') and the worry that the pair would never get to make an album at all. Unusually he gets asked over recording the 'Voices Of Old People' section of 'Bookends', Sinatra changing the words to 'Bridge' and the 'Songs From America' special. It's a nice if not terrifically revealing interview and Arty is happy in interviewer Ken Paulson's hands, pushed just far enough to be interesting without being controversial. The second half is the better half with Arty joined by Buddy Mondlock and Maia Sharp, his collaborators on 'Everything Waits To Be Noticed' both talking about how much drive Arty had in organising that project, starting so many of his songs as poems.  The trio turn in spine-tingling versions of many of my favourite songs from 'Noticed' too so I'm more than happy!

48. Father and Daughter (Paul Only Music Video 2005)
'Surprise!' That's the name of the album, not a description of another rather generic video accompanying easily the weakest moment on Paul's 2005 album. We barely see Paul as the director spends far too much time concentrating on a child model watching the Rugrats movie for which this was the 'theme song'.

49. Charlie Rose ('Slip Slidin' Away' Paul Only US TV 2007)
A simple and all too short performance of a neglected classic to promote another tour. A short-haired Paul performs alone, just like he did back in the 1970s.

50. Wetten Das ('A Heart In New York' Art Only German TV 2007)
This one is...strange. Art appears on German TV singing a song about New York while leaning against an obviously fake set of houses and drowned out by an intrusive string quartet who aren't on the original record. The German TV show title loosely translates as 'Beat That!' They're not kidding!

51. Geld Oder Leibe ('Dreamland' Art Only German TV 2007)
Much more convincing is this simpler solo version of a sweet song from Art's songs for his new-born son James 'Songs From A Parent To A Child'. Of course James is by now seventeen and probably more embarrassed by this Mary Chapin Carpenter song than anything. 'Money Over Live' is what this TV show title translates as - sounds about right!
52. Live At Abbey Road ('Outrageous' 'Slip Slidin' Away' 'That Was Your Mother' Paul Only UK TV 2007)
In the mid-2000s EMI were in such a financial hole even a new Beatles remix album couldn't get them out of trouble. One of the better solutions to their problems was to make their famous Abbey Road studios more accessible to both fans and groups, with a regular TV slot featuring stars old and new performing there which still turns to this day. Paul and a stripped-down version of his touring band perform three songs. 'That Was Your Mother' is in truth one of his weakest songs while he struggles to get the tone of 'Slip Slidin' Away' quite right, but he sounds pretty good on a snarling vicious 'Outrageous' and is note-perfect on a mellow 'Graceland'.

53. The Afterlife (Paul Only Music Video 2011)
An unusual choice of song to promote the 'So Beautiful Or So What?' album (there never was a single), I hoped that Paul had chosen this one because it's the most visual of his most recent batch of songs: a tale of waiting patiently in line in heaven while Paul's essence gets dissolved to a simple doo-wop tune. Instead it's another simple performance in split-screen this time, which is nice but inessential.

54. CBS This Morning (Art Only US TV 2014)

Arty appears in a five minute segment broadcast regularly on American television, standing in front of a kitchen set that looks remarkably like the one on the cover of 1979 LP 'Fate For breakfast'. Says Art 'singing was my introduction into a room of strangers' as he warns his younger self about the highs and lows of fame ('it pays your bills and puts momentum into your current project') and family ('You will be exasperated...but it's also the grand enrichment of life') accompanied by clips of his older self performing. Art tries to encourage his younger self to be brave for his recent years when he began to lose his voice but just when he's in danger of taking things too seriously warns himself that though he will achieve many things he wants in life 'you will never ever find the right hat!'
That's all from Simon and Garfunkel I'm afraid - join us next week for the first of our Small Faces features instead!