Paul Simon: Behind The Hits

Today, a song named for a popular product.

Paul Simon’s Kodachrome was a huge hit in 1973, peaking at number 2 on Billboard.

According to Paul, he was working on a song with the title “coming home” or “going home” when the word ‘Kodachrome’ came to mind, saying it would make for a more interesting song. Kodachrome went on to become an appreciation of the things in life that color our world.

Paul recorded it at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, becoming the first big Rock artist to record there.

Though Kodachrome found success here in the U.S., it was not in England.  The BBC had very strick rules about songs mentioned products. The song was also banned on some radio here because of the  first line: “When I think back to all the ‘crap’ I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” due to the word ‘crap.’

Eastman Kodak Company also required the label to note that Kodachrome was a trademark of Kodak, and to include the registered trademark symbol ®.

On occassion, Paul sometimes sings the line “Everything looks worse in black and white” as “Everything looks better in black and white.” He changes it a lot, and claims he can’t remember which way he wrote it.

Here’s a clip from his Concert In The Park in New York 1991:

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