By David Keyworth
World-renowned singer/songwriter Paul Simon has announced his farewell tour, including a visit to Manchester Arena on Tuesday 10 July.
The title of the tour – Homeward Bound – comes from a song, which has strong connections to the North West. A plaque at Widnes Railway Station states: “At Widnes Station in 1965 Paul Simon wrote the Song Homeward Bound.” The song opens with the line: “I’m sitting in the railway station. Got a ticket for my destination.”
Announcing his pending retirement in a statement on his website, Paul Simon referred to the death of his friend and lead guitarist Vincent N’guini, in December 2017.
He added: “The travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing.”
The tour will begin in Vancouver on 16 May and finish in Hyde Park, London on 15 July, with “very Special Guests” James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were both born in 1941. As teenagers, they reached no 49 in the American charts, in 1957, with their Everly Brothers inspired Hey, Schoolgirl.
Simon & Garfunkel’s debut album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was released in 1964, followed by Sounds Of Silence in 1966.
The song Mrs Robinson hit number 1 in the USA in 1968 and number four in the UK, after being featured in the soundtrack of the film The Graduate.
The Graduate features Dustin Hoffman, as the 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock. He utters the immortal line to Anne Bancroft: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”
The song Mrs Robinson evokes and satirises the USA in the 1950s and 60s. It namechecks Joe DiMaggio – Joseph Paul DiMaggio (1914 –1999), nicknamed “Joltin’ Joe”.
He was an Italian-American baseball star, who played Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He was also married to Marilyn Monroe, for nine months (1954-55).
In 1999, Paul Simon performed at Yankee Stadium to help celebrate the Joe DiMaggio monument.
Simon & Garfunkel split in 1970, after they hit number 1 in the UK and USA with the album and title track Bridge Over Troubled Water.
In 1986, Paul Simon released Graceland. The album was inspired by bootleg cassette of South African township music. The collaborative album was controversial because it broke the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa
Paul Simon’s 13th solo studio album Stranger to Stranger was released on June 3, 2016.
Paul Simon concluded the statement about his retirement by saying: “Once again, I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.”
For more information visit www.paulsimon.com