On Paul Simon’s “Troubling” Performance of “Bridge over Troubled Water” at DNC

1. Paul Simon singing his song at age 74 is not to be compared with a young Garfunkle singing this song in 1970.
2. Simon wrote the song. He has lived the song, and is entitled to perform the song as he wishes. (Dylan does this each concert with his own material. Likewise, he feels no obligation to to matching or reperforming note-for-note the original version.) If critics missed it, Simon was very obviously interpreting the song and singing it from his heart. The fact that he knows the tune well enough to improvise or vary it, successfully by the way, is to his credit at 74. Many critics don’t like improv, especially in popular artists who have been commercially successful.
3. Simon knew what he wanted to do with the song in advance and had rehearsed it extensively beforehand with the band. He had already made his choices before he opened his mouth live. He, again, sang the song the way it felt last night in that context live.
4. There are a lot of people who are bugged with artists adapting or changing their own material from original recorded versions decades ago. That is their problem or limitation. Usually the critics are not good or successful performers or don’t know what it’s like to perform, as Simon does, over 60 years, especially. Paul Simon is a Legend and whatever criticism is weak and unfounded.
5. Paul Simon sang this song truthfully and honestly the way I would expect him to sing it at age 74. He has still ‘got it’ after all this time; the carping critics ‘don’t get it’ and did not see how moved the audience was singing along and swaying. They have no sense of reality, truth, or even honest reporting.

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