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The Essential Paul Simon (2 CD/DVD)

152 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 26, 2007
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The Essential Paul Simon (2 CD/DVD) + The Best of Simon & Garfunkel
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Among the most popular artists and greatest songwriters of our time, Paul Simon receives the first Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress at a concert gala/tribute airing in high definition on PBS nationwide June 27. In celebration, the two-CD The Essential Paul Simon brings together all of his hits and favorite tracks in the most expansive, solo career spanning compilation issued for the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. This is the deluxe version that comes with a bonus DVD.

While the restless artisanship of Paul Simon's music has been previously anthologized more than once, this double-disc-plus-DVD set instantly takes its place as the most comprehensive yet musically insightful overview of his solo career. Six tracks from the singer's Grammy-winning triumph Graceland, the 1986 collection that both reinvented Simon's career and pushed world music into a well-deserved spotlight, serve as the collection's focal point. They bridge the more traditional '70s singer-songwriter fare Simon pursued after his split with partner Art Garfunkel and the often openly experimental avenues that more recently led to his rewarding 2006 collaboration with Brian Eno, Surprise. Simon's innate artistic curiosity is further underscored by the album's creative sequencing, which eschews strict chronology for a tack that weaves the songs into a more musically and thematically cohesive tapestry. The bonus DVD culls together visual materials that range from the expected videos (including a turn with Mickey Mantle in the early "Me and Julio," the signature, Chevy Chase-starring "You Can Call Me Al," "The Boy in the Bubble," and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" from Graceland) and TV performances that include a plaintive "Mrs. Robinson" from a 1970 Dick Cavett show and three era-spanning appearances on Saturday Night Live, including a warm 1976 duet with George Harrison on "Homeward Bound" that legend says was nearly the catalyst for a full onstage Beatles reunion. --Jerry McCulley

Disc: 1
1. Mother And Child Reunion
2. Loves Me Like A Rock
3. Me And Julio Down By The School Yard
4. Duncan
5. Kodachrome
6. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
7. Slip Slidin' Away
8. Gone At Last
9. Something So Right
10. Late In The Evening
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Graceland
2. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
3. The Boy In The Bubble
4. You Can Call Me Al
5. Under African Skies
6. The Obvious Child
7. Born At The Right Time
8. The Coo, Cool River
9. Spirit Voices
10. Adios Hermanos
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000Q677EA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,240 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Ledford on June 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Maybe the Essential Paul Simon Collection should hve been titled, The Definitive Paul Simon since it is the most definitive collection of all his single and double C.D. collections. All previous collections either completely omit the songs, Duncan and American Tune (both radio hits) or else substitute them for live versions. In fact, this collection presents these two songs (and all others) in their original, album-length, studio versions. Also included here are the minor hits, Gone At Last (with Phoebe Snow) and Stranded In A Limosine, both largely ignored songs on other P.S. compilations. It is interesting that one of the P.S. "fan favorites." Take Me To The Mardi Gras, was released as a U.K. single, simultaneously with the U.S. single, Kodachrome. Both became top ten hits in their respective countries. It is nice to see all the single A-sides from the seventies included here.

One caveat is that Paul Simon songs from the early eighties are sparsely represented here. Only one of the three singles from One Trick Pony is represented (Late In The Evening, of course). And strangely, NO singles from the 1983 album, Hearts And Bones were included, despite the fact that Allergies was a moderate, radio hit. Hearts And Bones was originally intended to be a Simon and Garfunkel reunion album but that conception of the album never materialized. However, three key tracks from H & B are included: Train In A Distance (one of my favorite P.S. songs and is still played in malls across America), the title track (another favorite) and The Late Great Johnny Ace (a tribute to rock and roll legends with a coda performed by Philip Glass). There was ample room on disc one to have included another song, perhaps One Trick Pony, Think Too Much (b) or Rene and Georgette Magritte....
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kerner HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When it comes to music right now, there just really isn't anything that is actually exciting. While there are so many acts that just seem to get by on gloss like Beyonce', Britney Spears, and Usher, there just really isn'y anything anymore about songs and artists that just comes from the simplistic words themselves. There have been acts that have made great records, they just missed the cut when it comes to sales last year from Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Paul Simon. Although Paul has been recognized with great acheivements in music on his own, as a member of Simon & Garfunkel, he has truly made the music of our times, and this collection shows it.

The 2007 Essential Paul Simon is a double album reflection of what made Paul Simon's solo career so dynamic and universal. This was made in honor of his recent inagural Gershwin Award for Song, as well as his 35th anniverasry as a acclaimed solo artist. This collection follows in suit very nicely, and expands the effort delightfully that was made so well on his last solo hits package, 2002's On My Way. The songs here flow very nicely, and have all been remastered very well. All of his classics are highlighted here including the guilty pleasures 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, You Can Call Me Al, The Boy In The Bubble, as well as down to Earth gems like Mother and Child Reunion, and his Oscar-nominated Father and Daughter from the Nickelodeon animated film The Wild Thornberries Movie, and his recently overlooked track Outrageous from his overshadowed 2006 album Surprise. This version also add in on the fun, by including some great music videos of his work and craftsmanship in songwriting like Diamonds On The Souls Of Her Shoes, and a rendidtion of the Simon & Garfunkel gem, Mrs. Robinson from the classic 70's The Dick Cavett Show.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Schult on November 6, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just purchased the 2010 Sony reissue of "The Essential Paul Simon". It is EVERYTHING past collections are not. The songs are not edited. And rather than program the songs in strict chronological order, the compiler has programmed the songs so they fit together as a body of work, rather than as a mere run-down of his most popular music.

True, it omits some classics, as well as a few minor hits. But this is a minor quibble (I assume this has the same track listing as 2007's similarly titled Warner collection). "The Essential Paul Simon" is the finest collection of his music ever offered, bar none. And for those who are familiar with other reviews I've written, that is saying quite a lot.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kerner HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
WIth the past few years, we really haven't seen much in the way of great sales from older acts like Elton John, Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne. Although they've made great albums, people would rather seem more interested in acts that are more about hype like Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Usher, and the sleezy socialite who really has no career, Paris Hilton. That hasn't left much in the way of great performers like Paul Simon. Spanning nearly 6 decades of great music, Paul's music is more meaningful, and still remains straight from the heart. Recently, he celebrated his 35th anniversary as a solo act, and won the honorable 1st ever Gershwin Prize for Song for his melodic style, we are often forgetful about his real talent of songwriting and craftsmanship, and this hits record shows that trail well.

The 2007 Essential Paul Simon, is a double album that expands very well from his previous single disc album On My Way, and brilliantly shows his era as one of the best songwriters of our times. The collection includes tracks from his first hits from the 1970's, all the way to his recent record, Surprise. The songs in the collection are remastered very well, and reflect on his career nicely. The album includes great classics including Me & Julio Down By The School Yard, his guilty pleasure gem You Can Call Me Al, the driven-styled Graceland, Slip Slidin' Away, as well as recent tunes like Outrageous, and his Oscar-nominated surprise hit Father And Daughter from the 2004 animated Nickelodeon film The Wild Thornberries Movie. The collection really does feel like a walk down memory lane, and reminds people of true songwriting that isn't about looks or selling yourself out in endorsements, it is about heart.
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