Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon surprised fans and critics alike with his latest album. “Stranger to Stranger” featured his usual mix of cryptic and poetic lyrics and experiments with rhythms from other countries, but it also featured unusual percussion instruments and collaborations with young dance music artists.

“Its about getting you to actually hear something in a new way,” Simon said about the album on his official website. “Its about making music that sounds old and new at the same time; music with a sense of mystery.”

Simon brings this music, along with more than 50 years of hits, to his show on June 25 at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena. He says on his website that experimenting, such as the critically acclaimed songs “Wristband” and “The Werewolf,” is still important to his work.

“Sound is the theme of this album as much as it’s about the subjects of the individual songs. If people get that, I’ll be pleased,” Simon said. “The right song at the right time can live for generations. A beautiful sound, well, that’s forever.”

Simon, meet Garfunkel

Simon began making beautiful sounds in junior high school with his friend, singer Art Garfunkel. As a doo-wop duo named Tom and Jerry, the two had a minor hit called “Hey Little Schoolgirl” in 1957. A stint as a younger songwriter-for-hire and a trip playing the folks clubs of England eventually led to Simon and Garfunkel joining together again as a duo, and this was the true start of Simon’s career.

From the mid-sixties through their first split in 1972, Simon and Garfunkel had many hits, including “The Sound of Silence,” “The Boxer,” “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” When Simon went solo, he continued selling millions of records and writing enduring hits, including “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “Late in the Evening.” He also made some forays into acting, including a cameo in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” and a starring role in his own film, “One Trick Pony.”

Although it was a time of further experiments, Simon reached another big commercial peak in the 80s. His biggest hit album, “Graceland” in 1986, featured his folk-pop sound mixed with musicians and song structures from Africa. It led to hits such as “You Can Call Me Al,” “The Boy in the Bubble” and the title track. The album eventually sold five million copies in the U.S. and seven million more worldwide. He also toured worldwide for several years, including several shows in post-apartheid South Africa.

From that point, Simon balanced his musical life between solo work and occasional reunion tours with Garfunkel. Among his best known songs since 1990 are “The Obvious Child, “Father and Daughter,” and “Getting Ready for Christmas Day.”

Read or Share this story: