'There’s no tougher a mind, no more tender a voice than Paul Simon, and there’s no better man than Robert Hilburn to decipher the hardwiring of this hyperintellect...great songs can never be fully explained, but the great man on his way to find those songs surely can.' —Bono
Through such hits as “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and “Graceland,” Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs for a half-century about alienation, doubt, survival, and faith in ways that have established him as one of the most honoured and beloved songwriters in American pop music history. Yet Simon has refused to talk to potential biographers and urged those close to him to also remain silent. But Simon not only agreed to talk to biographer Robert Hilburn for what has amounted to more than sixty hours, he also encouraged his family and friends to sit down for in-depth interviews.
Paul Simon is a revealing account of the challenges and sacrifices of artistry at the highest level. He has also lived a roller-coaster life of extreme ups and downs. We not only learn Paul’s unrelenting drive to achieve artistry, but also the subsequent struggles to protect that artistry against distractions – fame, wealth, marriage, divorce, drugs, complacency, public rejection, self-doubt – that have frequently derailed pop stars and each of which he encountered. From dominating the charts with Art Garfunkeland a successful reinvention as a solo artist, to his multiple marriages and highly publicized second divorce from Carrie Fisher, this book covers all aspects of this American icon.
Robert Hilburn was the chief pop music critic for the Los Angeles Times for more than three decades. Author of the bestselling biography Johnny Cash: The Life, which Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times selected as one of her top ten books of 2013, Hilburn has reported extensively on most of pop music’s giants, including Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and U2. He lives in Los Angeles.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (June 1, 2018)
Length: 448 pages
'There are two great storytellers colliding here. There’s no tougher a mind, no more tender a voice than Paul Simon, and there’s no better man than Robert Hilburn to decipher the hardwiring of this hyperintellect. From the prologue I was sucked in, suckered into a sense that I too might discover the genetic code of some of the greatest songs of any century. By the epilogue, you realize the great songs can never be fully explained, but the great man on his way to find those songs surely can.'
'When it comes to writing songs, no one does it better than Paul Simon. Robert Hilburn’s is a wise and winning account of our most nimble, nuanced, and numinous poet-musician.'
– Paul Muldoon
'A tantalizing look into the mind and writing process of the man who is arguably the finest craftsman of the American popular song since the Gershwin brothers, this book will delight any Paul Simon fan or student of popular culture.'
– Linda Ronstadt
‘this stately biography does capture the tension between the focused, ambitious songwriter and his dreamy, unreliable former partner’
– The Times
'This definitive biography tells the stories behind the hits - and of his fiery relationship with Art Garfunkel.'
– Mail on Sunday
'The first officially-sanctioned biography of the great singer-songwriter. It is everything fans could have hoped for, including valuable insights into Simon's life and art, and the cause of what appears to be his final personal rupture with Art Garfunkel.'
– Choice magazine
'Hilburn...ably demonstrates the respect in which Simon his held by fellow songwriters'
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