Audio

Under The Milky Way ~ The Church

The_Church_(Band)The Church is an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. Glenn A. Baker has written that “From the release of the ‘She Never Said’ single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favor and disfavor in Australia”. The Los Angeles Times has described the band’s music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”.

The founding members were Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars and Nick Ward on drums. Ward only played on their debut album and the band’s drummer for the rest of the 1980s was Richard Ploog. Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Group) played drums from 1990 to 1993, followed by Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) who remains with them to the present day. Koppes left the band from 1992 to 1997[4] and Willson-Piper left in 2013. He was replaced by Ian Haug, formerly of Powderfinger. Kilbey, Koppes and Powles also recorded together as “The Refo:mation” in 1997.

The Church’s debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), delivered their first radio hit “The Unguarded Moment” and they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band without releasing it. This put a dent in their international success, but they returned to the charts in 1988, with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit “Under the Milky Way”. Subsequent mainstream success has proved elusive, but the band retains a large international cult following and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney in 2011. The Church continue to tour and record, releasing their 24th studio album, Further/Deeper, in October 2014.

Under The Milky Way

Under the Milky Way” is a single by Australian alternative rock band The Church, released on 15 February 1988 and appears on their fifth studio album Starfish. The song was written by bass guitarist and lead vocalistSteve Kilbey and his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson (ex-Pink Champagne, Curious (Yellow)).

“Under the Milky Way” was written by Kilbey and Karin Jansson of Curious (Yellow). Kilbey and Jansson had become friends in 1983 and lived together in Australia from 1986.  Kilbey said, “I smoked a joint and started playing the piano and she came in the room and we just made it up.”  According to a press release issued with Starfish, the title is from an Amsterdam music and cultural venue, Melkweg (Dutch for “Milky Way”), which Kilbey used to frequent.

Under The Milky Way – Kilby, Jansson

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down, all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

  • Audio from the 1988 album, Starfish:

Starfish_album

Play Under The Milky Way - by The Church

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo

Status-Quo---1968--1Status Quo, also known as The Quo or just Quo, are an English rock band whose music is characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock.

The origins of Status Quo were in the rock and roll freakbeat band “The Spectres” formed in 1962. Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster met at Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, and were members of the same orchestra. They started a band called The Scorpions, later changing the name to “The Spectres”. Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963 they added drummer John Coghlan. They began writing their own material and after a year met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965 Rossi and Parfitt, who had become close friends, made a commitment to continue working together. On 18 July 1966 The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing two singles that year, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (a song originally recorded by New York psychedelic band The Blues Magoos).

By 1967, the group had discovered psychedelia and changed their name to Traffic (later amended to Traffic Jam, to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood’s Traffic). At this time the line-up also included organist Roy Lynes.  In late 1967 the band became The Status Quo, and in January 1968 they released the psychedelic-favored “Pictures of Matchstick Men”

Pictures of Matchstick Men

The song opens with a single guitar repeatedly playing a simple four note riff before the rhythm guitar comes in with chords and the drums and lyrics begin. Pictures of Matchstick Men is one of a number of songs from the late sixties to feature phasing (the audio effect).

I wrote it on the bog. I’d gone there, not for the usual reasons…but to get away from the wife and mother-in-law. I used to go into this narrow frizzing toilet and sit there for hours, until they finally went out. I got three quarters of the song finished in that khazi. The rest I finished in the lounge.”

The song is an example of bubblegum psychedelia. Their following release Black Veils of Melancholy was similar but flopped and so caused the group to change direction.

The “matchstick men” of the song refer to the paintings of L.S. Lowry.

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Francis Rossi

When I look up to the skies
I see your eyes a funny kind of yellow
I rush home to bed I soak my head
I see your face underneath my pillow
I wake next morning, tired, still yawning
See your face come peeping through my window

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

Windows echo your reflection
When I look in their direction now
When will this haunting stop?
Your face it just won’t leave me alone

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie
You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie

Pictures of matchstick men and
Pictures of matchstick men and you
Pictures of matchstick men ….

  • Audio from the 1968 album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo:

Picturesque

Play Pictures of Matchstick Men - by Status Quo

Twilight Zone ~ Golden Earring

golden-earringGolden Earring is a Dutch rock band, founded in 1961 in The Hague as the Golden Earrings (the “s” was dropped in 1969). They achieved worldwide fame with their international hit songs “Radar Love” in 1973, which went to number one on the Dutch charts, reached the top ten in the UK and went to number thirteen on the US charts,  “Twilight Zone” in 1982, and “When the Lady Smiles” in 1984. During their career they had nearly 30 top-ten singles on the Dutch charts; over the years they produced 25 studio albums. The band’s lineup currently consists of co-founders Rinus Gerritsen (bass and keyboards) and George Kooymans (vocals and guitar), along with Barry Hay (vocals, guitar, flute and saxophone), and Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums and percussion). All musicians in the present lineup of the band have been continuous members of the band since 1970, although other musicians have joined and left the band during the intervening years.

What became Golden Earring was formed in 1961 in The Hague by 13-year-old George Kooymans and his 15-year-old neighbor, Rinus Gerritsen. Originally called the Tornados, the name was changed to The Golden Earrings when they discovered that the name The Tornados was already in use by another group. The name The Golden Earrings was taken from an instrumental called “Golden Earrings” performed by the British group The Hunters, for whom they served as opening and closing act. Initially a pop-rock band with Frans Krassenburg on lead vocals and Jaap Eggermont on drums, The Golden Earrings had their first chart success with their debut single “Please Go”, recorded in 1965. It became a hit on the charts in the Netherlands. While The Beatles had what some have called their “Fifth Beatle” in George Martin, the Golden Earrings often used session pianist Cees Schrama on their records. Dissatisfied with Dutch recording studios, the band’s manager and co-discoverer Fred Haayen arranged for the next single to be recorded at the Pye Records studios in London. The record cut at Pye, “That Day”, reached number two on the Dutch charts.

In 1967, Barry Hay joined the band, replacing Krassenburg as frontman for the group. The following year, the band earned their first number one hit in the Netherlands with the song “Dong Dong Diki Digi Dong”. In the United States, ground work for entering the U.S. market was being laid by East Coast FM radio disc jockey and music critic Neil Kempfer-Stocker, who is credited as the first radio DJ to play the band in the U.S. This single was followed by a successful psychedelic album Eight Miles High, which featured an 18-minute version of the title track, itself a cover of the 1966 hit song by The Byrds.  The live version, which could last 45 minutes, was played during their first and second American tours in 1969. The band’s American records at this time period were issued by the Perception Records label in New York, and the band’s Golden Earring LP, known as Wall of Dolls, and single “Back Home” performed poorly in the U.S. but became a number 1 hit in the Netherlands.

Twilight Zone

Twilight Zone” is a 1982 hit by the Dutch band Golden Earring. It was written by the band’s guitarist George Kooymans, who got the inspiration from a book by Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity. “Twilight Zone” appears on their 1982 album Cut and pays tribute to the 1960s television series The Twilight Zone. It was the group’s sole Top 10 Pop single on the US Billboard Hot 100 and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart, the band’s only No. 1 hit in America.

The spoken lines in the introduction and first verse (ending with “the gun is still warm”) and the backing vocals in the chorus are performed by Kooymans, while Barry Hay sings the lead vocal part for the verses throughout.

In the 1990s, the song was included on a volume of Rhino Records’ New Wave Hits of the ’80s series. The music video was featured on Volume One of the VHS companion compilation.

In popular culture

“Twilight Zone” was used as the theme song in the 1993 hit pinball game The Twilight Zone (based on the classic TV series), made by Midway Manufacturing Company under the “Bally” label.

“Twilight Zone” is used as the theme song for the radio news show Wall Street Journal This Morning.

“Twilight Zone” was featured in the FX drama The Americans, during the second season finale.

The song plays during the credits of Team Four Star’s abridged version of Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone.

“Twilight Zone” was featured in the 2012 movie End of Watch.

“Twilight Zone” was featured in the “Raid the Arcade” music mix in Ernest Cline’s novel, Armada.

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. used it as an entrance song whenever possible during the 2013 season.

Twilight Zone – Kooymans

(somewhere in a lonely hotel room,
There’s a guy starting to realize
That eternal fate has turned its back on him,
It’s two a.m………..)

It’s two a.m., the fear has gone
I’m sittin’ here waitin’, the gun still warm
Maybe my connection is tired of takin’ chances
Yeah there’s a storm on the loose, sirens in my head
I’m wrapped up in silence, all circuits are dead
I cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy

Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Soon you will come to know,
When the bullet hits the bone
Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone

I’m falling down a spiral, destination unknown
A double-crossed messenger, all alone
I can’t get no connection, can’t get through, where are you
Well the night weighs heavy on his guilty mind
This far from the borderline
And when the hit man comes
He knows damn well he has been cheated

Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far
Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone
Soon you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone

  • Audio from the 1982 album, Cut:

Golden_Earring_-_Cut

Play Twilight Zone - by Golden Earring

The Sound of Silence ~ Disturbed

Disturbed150x100Disturbed is an American heavy metal band from Chicago, Illinois. The band comprises vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren. Former band members are vocalist Erich Awalt and bassist Steve Kmak.

Formed in 1994 as Brawl, the band was renamed Disturbed in 1996 after Draiman was hired as the band’s new vocalist. The band has released six studio albums, five of which have consecutively debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Disturbed went into hiatus in October 2011, during which the band’s members focused on various side projects, and returned in June 2015, releasing their first album in five years, Immortalized, on August 21, 2015.

Before David Draiman joined Disturbed, the lineup consisted of vocalist Erich Awalt, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist Steve “Fuzz” Kmak. Before changing their name to “Brawl“, however, Donegan mentioned in the band’s DVD, Decade of Disturbed, that the name was originally going to be “Crawl”; they switched it to “Brawl”, due to the name already being used by another band. Awalt left the band shortly after the recording of a demo tape; the other three members advertised for a singer. They posted an advertisement in the local music publication in Chicago, Illinois, called the “Illinois Entertainer”. Draiman answered the advertisement after going to twenty other auditions that month. Guitarist Dan Donegan commented on Draiman: “You know, out of all the singers that we had talked to or auditioned, he [Draiman] was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that”.

With regard to Draiman being the new singer for the band, Donegan said, “After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge…I’m playing my guitar and I’m grinning from ear to ear, trying not to give it away that I like this guy, you know, because I don’t want to, you know…[say] ‘Yeah, we’ll give you a call back. We’ll, you know, discuss it.’ But I was so psyched. Chill up my spine. I’m like, ‘There is something here.'” As drummer Mike Wengren commented, “We clicked right off the bat.” Draiman then joined the band in 1996 and the band was renamed Disturbed. When asked in an interview why he suggested to name the band “Disturbed,” Draiman said, “It had been a name I have been contemplating for a band for years. It just seems to symbolize everything we were feeling at the time. The level of conformity that people are forced into was disturbing to us and we were just trying to push the envelope and the name just sorta made sense.”

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence“, originally “The Sounds of Silence“, is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon over the period of several months between 1963 and 1964. A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and the song was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for inclusion on their debut studio album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M..

Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In spring 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song’s remix until after its release. The single was released in September 1965.

The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 1, 1966, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song’s success. The song was a top-ten hit in multiple countries worldwide, among them Australia, Austria, West Germany, Ireland, Japan and the Netherlands. Generally considered a classic folk rock song, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2013 along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album.

Originally titled “The Sounds of Silence” on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., as well as on the single release and Sounds of Silence album, the song was re-titled for later compilations beginning with Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.

Heavy metal band Disturbed covered the song in 2015, which became very popular. Paul Simon endorsed the song as a result.

A music video was released on December 7, 2015. Their cover hit number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Digital Songs and Mainstream Rock charts, and is their highest charting song on the Hot 100, peaking at number 51. It is also their highest charting single in Australia, peaking at number 4.

The Sound of Silence – Simon

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know.
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.”

  • Audio from the 2010 album, Immortalized:

Disturbed_immortalized_cover

Play The Sound of Silence - by Disturbed

Started Out With Nothin’ ~ Seasick Steve

seasick-steveSteven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve is an American bluesman, although he prefers to be called “a song and dance man”. He plays guitars (mostly personalized), and sings, usually about his early life living rough and doing casual work.

Wold was born in Oakland, California.When he was four years old, his parents split up. His father played boogie-woogie piano and at five or six years old Wold tried to learn but could not. At age eight, he learned to play the guitar (he later found out that it was blues) from K. C. Douglas, who worked at his grandfather’s garage.Douglas wrote the song “Mercury Blues” and used to play with Tommy Johnson. Wold left home at 13 to avoid abuse at the hands of his stepfather, and lived rough and on the road in Tennessee, Mississippi and elsewhere, until 1973. He would travel long distances by hopping freight trains, looking for work as a farm laborer or in other seasonal jobs, often living as a hobo. At various times, Wold worked as a carnie, cowboy and a migrant worker.

Of this time he once said:

“Hobos are people who move around looking for work, tramps are people who move around but don’t look for work, and bums are people who don’t move and don’t work. I’ve been all three.”

In the sixties he started touring and performing with fellow blues musicians, and had friends in the music scene including Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell. Since then, he has worked, on and off, as a session musician and studio engineer. In the late 1980s, while living in Olympia, near Seattle, he worked with many indie label artistsKurt Cobain was a friend. In the 1990s he continued to work as a recording engineer and producer, including producing several releases by Modest Mouse. including their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About.

At one time, living in Paris, Wold made his living busking, mostly on the metro. After moving to Norway in 2001, Wold released his first album, entitled “Cheap”, recorded with The Level Devils (Jo Husmo on stand-up bass and Kai Kristoffersen on drums) as his rhythm section. His debut solo album, “Dog House Music” was released by Bronzerat Records in November 2006, after he was championed by an old friend, Joe Cushley, DJ on the Ballin’ The Jack blues show on London radio station Resonance FM.

Started Out With Nothin’

Started Out With Nothin’ – Wold

I can’t lose what I never had
You can’t take what I ain’t got
When I’m happy, you won’t make me sad
Depending on you all
Well I’m not
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

When I’m down I just get up
When I’m down well I stand up
Been down many times well you know it’s true
Haven’t had a red dime between me and you

Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

And if all fell apart today
I could just walk
Get on down the street
I ain’t worried where I’m going to sleep
I can always find some food to eat

Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left
Cause I started out with nothing
and I’ve still got most of it left

  • Audio from the 2008 album, Started Out With Nothin’:

started-out-with-nothin

Play Started Out With Nothing - by Seasick Steve

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2 ~ Emerson, Lake, & Palmer

ELP-150Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock supergroup.

On two occasions in 1969, The Nice (with Keith Emerson on keyboards) and King Crimson (with Greg Lake on bass and vocals) shared the same venue, first on August 10, 1969 at the 9th Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton, England and on October 17, 1969 at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, England.

After playing at a few of the same concerts, Emerson and Lake tried working together and found their styles to be not only compatible, but complementary. They wanted to be a keyboard/bass/drum band, and so searched out a drummer.

Before settling on Carl Palmer, who at that time was a member of Atomic Rooster, they approached Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Mitchell was uninterested but passed the idea to Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, tired of his band and wanting to try something different, expressed an interest in playing with the group. The British press, after hearing about this, speculated that such a supergroup would have been called HELP, or “Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer“. Due to scheduling conflicts, such plans were not immediately realised, but the initial three planned a jam session with Hendrix after their second concert at the Isle of Wight Festival (their debut being in Plymouth Guildhall six days earlier), with the possibility of him joining. Hendrix died shortly thereafter, so the three pressed on as Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2

Karn Evil 9” is an extended work by progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), appearing on the album, Brain Salad Surgery. A futuristic fusion of rock and classical themes, it is regarded by many fans to be among their best works. At nearly half an hour long, it is also their longest studio recording.

The story of “Karn Evil 9” is told in 3 parts, with the second part being an instrumental interlude between the first and the third. First Impression tells the story of a world from which “all manner of evil and decadence had been banished.” The decadence of the old world is preserved through exhibits that are part of a futuristic carnival show, which exhibits depravities like “seven virgins and a mule,” along with things that are rare in the future, such as a “real blade of grass.”

The Second Impression is an instrumental and unlike the rest of Karn Evil, is just three instruments: piano, bass and drums. This Impression changes from an upbeat out-of-control tune to a creepy slow interval and then picks up the pace again with a structure similar to that of a sonata. This Impression is often overlooked and is less popular than the others, though it is a rather complex piece, showing the three musicians virtuosity.

Third Impression describes a war between humans and computers, which can be interpreted in two different ways. One interpretation allows the victory to the humans, who reimpose their domain over the computers. The other interpretation allows victory to the computers, claiming that the computers were successful in dominating the humans and let them live only for the sake of gloating. Peter Sinfield’s original interpretation was that “what [Man had] invented ironically takes him over.”

Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2 – Emerson

Welcome back, my friends
to the show that never ends.
We’re so glad you could attend!
Come inside! Come inside!

There behind a glass
stands a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show’s about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell, or Earth

You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll

Right before your eyes,
We’ll pull laughter from the skies
And he laughs until he cries,
then he dies, then he dies

You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll

(Extended instrumental, mostly keyboard)

Soon the Gypsy Queen
in a glaze of Vaseline
Will perform on guillotine
What a scene! What a scene!
Next upon the stand
will you please extend a hand
to Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Dixieland, Dixieland

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Performing on a stool
we’ve a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule
Keep it cool. Keep it cool.
We would like it to be known
the exhibits that were shown
were exclusively our own,
All our own. All our own.

Come and see the show!
Come and see the show!
Come and see the show!
See the show!

See the shoooowwwwwww!

  • Audio from the 1973 album, Brain Salad Surgery:

brain-salad-surgery

Play Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression - by ELP

Kathy’s Song ~ Simon & Garfunkel

THE “KATHY” SERIES

up-simon_and_garfunkleSMThe duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are American popular musicians known collectively as Simon & Garfunkel. They met in elementary school in 1953, when they both appeared in the school play Alice in Wonderland (Simon as the White Rabbit, Garfunkel as the Cheshire Cat). They formed the group Tom and Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit “Hey Schoolgirl”. As Simon and Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965 backed by the hit single “The Sounds of Silence”. Their music was featured on the landmark film The Graduate, propelling them further into the public consciousness. They are well known for their close harmonies and sometimes unstable relationship. Their last album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was marked with several delays caused by artistic disagreements.

Kathy’s Song

Kathleen Mary “Kathy” Chitty worked part-time selling tickets at the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood, Essex, UK in 1964. She became the girlfriend and muse of Paul Simon when he lived in England in 1964 and 1965. She is referred to directly or indirectly in at least three of his songs.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was recorded in early 1964 and included the original acoustic version of The Sound of Silence. After the recording, Simon moved to England without Garfunkel. At this time folk music was becoming popular in England and Simon started working around the English folk clubs and coffee houses.

He met Kathy Chitty on 12th April 1964 at the very first English folk club he played at, the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood, Essex. She was 17, he was 22 and they fell in love. Later that year they visited the US together, touring around mainly by bus. Kathy returned to England on her own with Simon returning to her some weeks later. When he was back in London he recorded the album The Paul Simon Songbook that included Kathy’s Song, and had a photo of Simon and Kathy on the cover. Also included in the album was another version of The Sound of Silence.

Although Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. was initially a flop, the version of The Sound of Silence on that album began to receive limited airplay, so the producer, Tom Wilson, without consulting Simon or Garfunkel, overdubbed the recording with electric guitar and base, and drums. This new version entered the US charts in September 1965. By the end of 1965 and for the first few weeks of 1966 it was at No. 1 in the US pop charts.

In September 1965, when Simon learned of the growing success of The Sound of Silence he felt the need to immediately return to the US to continue his career. Kathy was quite shy and wanted no part of the success and fame that awaited Simon. They split up.

References to Kathy in Paul Simon’s Songs

During the separation after Kathy returned home from the American trip, Paul Simon wrote America, clearly a love song to Kathy, that lays bare the extent to which he was missing her:

“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”

During their separation he also wrote “Kathy’s Song”:

I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.
My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

Simon wrote Homeward Bound  at the  Ditton Railway Station, one of two stations located in the town of Widnes Ditton in Cheshire, England on Hale Road on the border between Ditton and Halebank. The station, on the London-Liverpool line, was closed to passengers on 27 May 1994. Now only the Widnes Railway Station remains. It is also widely interpreted that this song is also about Kathy:

I wish I was homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

After Paul Simon returned to America in 1965 they were not in contact for over 20 years. In 1986, during his success with Graceland he received a letter from her. In 1991, while on tour in the UK, Kathy and her family attended Simon´s show in Sheffield. In July 2004 Simon confirmed her attendance at the Old Friends Reunion Tour stop in Hyde Park.

Kathy is a very private person, all attempts by the press to cajole information or her whereabouts out of Simon have failed. As far as anybody knows, she is now a grandmother with three grown-up children and living in the Welsh mountains (where she has lived most of her life) working part-time at a technical college. Widnes station has a plaque commemorating the history of Homeward Bound. When this went missing a few years ago, Kathy was invited to unveil the replacement but she declined.

Kathy’s Song – Simon

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There before for the grace of you go I.

 

  • Audio from the 1966 album, Sounds of Silence:

sounds-of-silence

Play Kathy's Song - by Simon &