“Goodbye to Rosie, the Queen of Corona…”
It seems like it was just yesterday when iconic singer-songwriter Paul Simon announced he would be calling it quits from the road with his final run of shows.
Now, “Homeward Bound – The Farewell Performance” is wrapping up and Simon is set to take one final bow at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York, on September 22.
Queens bears heavy significance in the development of Simon’s musical career. Although born in Newark, New Jersey, he and his family relocated to the New York borough when he was just 4 years old. While in school there, he would meet Art Garfunkel when they were both 11, and the two would form a musical partnership that extended beyond their school years and well beyond Queens.
Simon’s conclusive September 22 performance will be a historic one, being the first major concert event at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in decades. Both the Panorama Festival and the Governors Ball were originally scheduled to take place at the venue but were not granted the necessary permits.
"When Paul Simon sings 'Homeward Bound,' there's no doubt he means New York," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release. "The grit, beauty and complexity of this city are woven into Simon's most haunting songs, and our greatest venues have formed the backdrop of his performing career. It's only fitting that this son of Queens comes home to Flushing Meadows Corona Park."
Simon will be donating all proceeds from the event to a previously-selected cause, which will be announced sometime in the future.
Who Is Paul Simon?
Paul Frederic Simon is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who got started in music at the ripe age of 11 after befriending future legendary singer Art Garfunkel. The pair began singing together, using two-part harmonies that were inspired by the Everly Brothers. Simon also developed an interest in jazz, folk, and blues, especially in the music of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly.
Simon got his feet wet in the music industry working for a song publishing company called E.B. Marks, where his job was to sell songs to record companies. When he got frustrated and left the company, he decided to self-publish any songs he wrote - a move that turned out to be very lucrative. Between 1957 and 1964, Simon wrote, recorded, and released more than 30 songs, occasionally reuniting with Garfunkel as "Tom & Jerry" for some singles, including "Our Song" and "That's My Story".
After his first Simon and Garfunkel album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, was released in 1964, Simon left for England and established himself as a folk artist. In 1966, he was called back to the U.S. when his song "The Sound of Silence" was released with electric instruments over the original acoustics and hit number one in the US. Afterward, he created four more albums with Garfunkel: The Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends; and Bridge Over Troubled Water.
After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1970, Simon began writing and recording solo material again. His self-titled debut was released in 1972, spawning the Jamaican-inspired hit “Mother and Child Reunion,” which reached the top five in America and Britain. The album earned him universal acclaim.
Simon's next project was the pop-folk album, There Goes Rhymin' Simon, released in 1973. It contained some of his most popular songs: "Kodachrome," "Loves Me Like a Rock,” "American Tune,” and "Something So Right" — a tribute to Simon's first wife, Peggy, which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Song of the Year.
The highly anticipated Still Crazy After All These Years was his next album, released in 1975. The mood of the album was darker, as he wrote and recorded it after his divorce, and it would become his only number one album on the Billboard charts to date. It earned him two Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal.
By 2009, Simon had released three times as many solo albums (15) as Simon & Garfunkel albums (5).
Simon has earned sixteen Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including three for Album of the Year (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, Graceland), and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. In 2011, Rolling Stone named Simon one of the 100 greatest guitarists. In 2015, he was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone. He was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist and as a member of Simon and Garfunkel.