Biographical Info: Paul Simon
back to "The Boxer" Background Info
Paul Simon (Biographical Info)
Tricia Jungwirth posted:
According to Robert Shelton in 'No Direction Home', he and Dylan were at
Folk City in March 1964 when Simon and Garfunkel came on stage, singing
'ethereal harmonies'. Dylan was at the bar, had done 'quite a bit of
drinking, had an advanced case of the giggles over nothing. We weren't
laughing at the performance, but Simon could have thought we were. Dylan had
in fact deprecated the work of other singers, but usually to their faces.'
Shelton goes on to say that by the second S&G album, Simon was 'directly
parodying Dylan. Simon's "Simple Desultory Philippic" was a burlesque. It's
harmonica playing and shouts for "Albert" left little doubt about its target.'
'Simon appeared to feel unjustly under-appreciated by Columbia for a long
time. He poked at Dylan in the English pop press. As late as May 1968, Simon
told 'Seventeen': "..I don't believe that kind of obscurity Bob Dylan
practises is good. I think it is more of a hoax..." He went on to lump Dylan
with rock groups, like The Animals, The Kinks, Herman's Hermits, and called
them musicians whose "stuff is a hoax or pap or a copy of something somebody
else should be doing." Even after he and Garfunkel broke through, Simon
seemed uneasy about his status in the folk music world. After a while - and
after dropping out for a period - he wrote "The Boxer" with obvious
allusions to Dylan. Dylan eventually replied by recording "The Boxer."
Certainly Simon's talent is great, and he's sold a lot more records than
Dylan. But he appeared to be uneasy for a long time about the musician who
laughed at the bar in Gerde's Folk City.'
If CBS were indeed the 'whores on 7th Avenue', as Clinton Heylin suggests,
then Simon himself 'took some comfort there'.