down by the schoolyard

Paul Simon and a wonderfully spunky child in improvisational counterpoint on the Muppet Show in 1977. Thank you to Genna Gardini for reminding me about this awkward, amazing moment. Read more on the Muppet Wiki.

Simon later would stress the concept of rhythm itself communicating a deeper message, and his earlier writing also demonstrates his dedication to making a deceptively simple rock and roll song embody a unified, total package in which each part must complement the others. “If you take a song that has some rhythm to it…and I don’t get the rhythm right… then the song doesn’t seem real.” With the right rhythm, though, “the listener gives up his defense. You’re willing to entertain a number of ideas, you’re having that good a time.” Rhythm, he said, “is good for lyrics that express emotion. And in allowing emotion to speak, rhythm connects us in anger or in love, to others.” Again, Simon stresses that the artist must communicate, and the songwriter´s communication must appeal to a sense well beyond that of the five recognized senses, a sense of rhythm innately found in songwriter and audience alike.

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