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Paul Simon — Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Album: Graceland
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2063








Released: 1986
Length: 5:41
Plays (last 30 days): 1
(a-wa) O kodwa u zo-nge li-sa namhlange
(a-wa a-wa) Si-bona kwenze ka kanjani
(a-wa a-wa) Amanto mbazane ayeza

She's a rich girl
She don't try to hide it
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
He's a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
Sing ta na na
(Ta na na)
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Ta na na
(Ta na na)
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes (Rich girl)
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

People say she's crazy
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well, that's one way to lose these walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

She was physically forgotten
But then she slipped into my pocket with my car keys
She said, "You've taken me for granted because I please you
Wearing these diamonds"

And I could say Oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo
As if everybody knows what I'm talking about
As if everybody here would know exactly what I was talking about
Talking about diamonds on the soles of her shoes

Ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

She makes the sign of a teaspoon, he makes the sign of a wave
The poor boy changes clothes, and he puts on aftershave
To compensate for his ordinary shoes

And she said, "Honey, take me dancing"
But they ended up by sleeping in a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights on upper Broadway
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

And I could say Oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo
And everybody here would know what I was talking about
I mean, everybody here would know exactly what I was talking about
I'm talking about diamonds

Ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

People say I'm crazy, I got diamonds on the soles of my shoes, yeah
Well, that's one way to lose these walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of our shoes

Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Ta na na na na, ta na na na na
Comments (228)add comment
I decided to start using the MP3 to force me not to use PSD, I felt like I was missing the whole reason I listen to RP: Bill's genius. I would have skipped this song in the beginning and when the "intro" is over I was about to make a comment on how nice the segue was, but it was the same track. 


I've heard this song many times on this channel, but I forgot that after a rough, to my ears anyhow, intro it really gets moving. 


2 -> 6
 thewiseking wrote:
Paul Simon was always a thieving magpie. Heck, he even stole the entire arrangement of Scarborough Fair. However, the folksy stuff, especially the original material was absolutely first rate.This cultural appropriation stuff was just awful. 
 
Oh piss on your accusation of "cultural appropriation" with music. People have been influenced by other people and genres since the beginning of music. 
So, are Inuit rappers stealing culture from the black rappers? Give it a rest. Lighten up.  And piss on you for attempting to be so damn PC.
I know it's a stupid comment to make, but Paul Simon's music makes me hope he's actually as good a guy as his music suggests.
I know it doesn't matter in the end, but in my simplistic view of the world, it would be really comforting to know he's a nice guy. 
 michaelc wrote:
still fine a million years later.
 

exactly ! {#High-five}{#Bananajam}{#Cheers}
 Limpopoking wrote:

That's one way of looking at it... Another is that he introduced a lot of the Western world to some awesome African rhythms. I go glass half full.

 
As an engineer, I'd say that glass is 50% larger than it needs to be. {#Cool}
still fine a million years later.
 Proclivities wrote:

You don't like "Kodachrome"?

 
Camera obscura does it better. ;-)
Paul Simon was always a thieving magpie. Heck, he even stole the entire arrangement of Scarborough Fair. However, the folksy stuff, especially the original material was absolutely first rate.This cultural appropriation stuff was just awful. 
 daniel_rusk wrote:
Cheap. Stole the rhythm from Africa and made it his own! The whole album!

 
That's one way of looking at it... Another is that he introduced a lot of the Western world to some awesome African rhythms. I go glass half full.
 nutrod42 wrote:
Don't much care for new Paul Simon stuff (i.e., after ca. 1970).

 
You don't like "Kodachrome"?
Don't much care for new Paul Simon stuff (i.e., after ca. 1970).
Cheap. Stole the rhythm from Africa and made it his own! The whole album!
Simply incomparable.

J'adore !!!

C'est la liberté...


 ottovonb wrote:
Is there a weak song anywhere on this album? I think not. What an amazing songwriter - and of course with considerable help from a whole lotta brilliant African friends in this case. Bravo one and all.

 
{#Clap}

ps: PS is fab
Timba!
Wonderful, emotional album with a fluid, brilliant and warm sounding production, one of the few that really appeared as a successful new step in sound quality on that particular year, with one of the first digital mixings perfectly suited for the CD format. Somehow this album marked the end of the 80's sound and set the standard to enter into a new era.
The bass track is by Bakithi Khumalo  love that fretless bass.
Great Ladysmith Black Mambazo! {#Clap}
Wow...it's been almost 30 years since this landmark record came out. Talking Heads, PS, and others got that World Music thing going!
Is there a weak song anywhere on this album? I think not. What an amazing songwriter - and of course with considerable help from a whole lotta brilliant African friends in this case. Bravo one and all.
Summer  86, my fav song on this album!
 KaraokeVox wrote:

anyone who can get chevy chase in their music video to do nothing else but mime your song and groove is the coolest musician ever to walk the planet.

i wonder if don't worry be  happy came before or after and if that is automatic copying
 
Of course, Chevy Chase is even more famous for being a huge jerk.

I guess the people who were there know what went down in those sessions. It's disconcerting if what Berlin says is true but it's an amazing album. 
 midigitguy wrote:


Might want to read what Steve Berlin of Los Lobos said about this...

 https://www.stereogum.com/9106/david_byrne_does_paul_simon_the_worlds_biggest_pri/video/

Amongst the choice quotes...

STEVE BERLIN: "That’s what he said. He said, “You don’t like it? Sue me. You’ll see what happens.” We were floored. We had no idea. The record comes out, and he’s a big hit. Retroactively, he had to give songwriting credit to all the African guys he stole from that were working on it and everyone seemed to forget. But that’s the kind of person he is. He’s the world’s biggest prick, basically."

An interesting read.

But bottom line, Graceland is a Great Album.
 

 
anyone who can get chevy chase in their music video to do nothing else but mime your song and groove is the coolest musician ever to walk the planet.

i wonder if don't worry be  happy came before or after and if that is automatic copying
 BCarn wrote:

Well linden, seems you're quite alone on your opinion. And quite wrong. It's okay, you've time to rethink.

Agree with the rest..one of the best in the last 25 years.

 
It appears that you have misunderstood Linden's post (which you called an "opinion") for at least two reasons:
It is a series of questions, not an opinion.
Her post is in defense of this album and Mr. Simon, not an attack on either. 
But feel free to tell others to "agree with the rest"; advising others into thoughtless conformity is such a wonderful thing.
10/10 for bass.
 GwentRabbit wrote:

What a troll. He DID credit the other musicians, and los Lobos actually played on the album, you lying
 libelous moron.

 

Might want to read what Steve Berlin of Los Lobos said about this...

 https://www.stereogum.com/9106/david_byrne_does_paul_simon_the_worlds_biggest_pri/video/

Amongst the choice quotes...

STEVE BERLIN: "That’s what he said. He said, “You don’t like it? Sue me. You’ll see what happens.” We were floored. We had no idea. The record comes out, and he’s a big hit. Retroactively, he had to give songwriting credit to all the African guys he stole from that were working on it and everyone seemed to forget. But that’s the kind of person he is. He’s the world’s biggest prick, basically."

An interesting read.

But bottom line, Graceland is a Great Album.
 
The bass player sure knows his way around the neck!
There goes Simon, and he aint Rhymin'  on this one
 ThirdRail_33 wrote:
Love this song.
Love this album.

 
........... so it's a 10 then
It must have been the early 90s, I just got my first personal cd player. Was at the table with my parents and playing this cd for them. My dad's very large eyes got even larger and he told me how much he loved this song. He came from a hardworking farm family, my Mom's was on the wealthy side. They are now both gone, and whenever I hear this song now I think of him and how much he loved my Mom with Diamonds on the Soles of her shoes.
I have always loved Paul Simon and in particular this song.  Finally saw him in Hyde Park in 2012 and it was amazing.  He even had Ladysmith Black Mambazzo with him for this and a few other tracks.  I floated home from that gig and just thinking about it now I feel the same.
This album has been one of my go-to road trip necessities for years. So now I hear it, and automatically go into pack-the-car mode. Sigh.
 ThirdRail_33 wrote:
Love this song.
Love this album.

 

Amen, this album is a clasic and one of my favorite Paul Simon CDs.
 ThirdRail_33 wrote:
Love this song.
Love this album.

 


Everybody in my church loves this song, and this whole album...
DVD of outdoor concert in Harare is great - this song used as the outro to all of the guest singers and musicians
Love this song.
Love this album.
 linden wrote:
I've never understood why it's only Paul Simon that gets crap for "stealing" from another culture's music. Why not Peter Gabriel? Should Led Zeppelin been allowed to play the blues? Should Jimi Hendrix not have played rock guitar? Should no white people play jazz? Should Yo-Yo Ma not play classical? What?
 
Well linden, seems you're quite alone on your opinion. And quite wrong. It's okay, you've time to rethink.

Agree with the rest..one of the best in the last 25 years.
 SoundsGoodToMe wrote:
Good song, but a -100 for "borrowing" another cultures music without so much as giving them a co-writing credit, and stealing from Los Lobos to boot, and telling them to go sue him (see comments below.)   Art Garfunkel always was the talent, this guy is a fraud.
 
What a troll. He DID credit the other musicians, and los Lobos actually played on the album, you lying
 libelous moron.
 SoundsGoodToMe wrote:
Good song, but a -100 for "borrowing" another cultures music without so much as giving them a co-writing credit, and stealing from Los Lobos to boot, and telling them to go sue him (see comments below.)   Art Garfunkel always was the talent, this guy is a fraud.
 
Read the liner notes
One of the best albums of the past 30 years. Great stuff.
good stuff!
I LOVE this album!
oh yea,,I love this song about as much now as i did when it came out. Bleeeeesh 


This song puts a spring in my step this spring day...

 
Must sign off now. Spending too much money on itunes while listening to Bill's playlist.
 misterbearbaby wrote:
I'm incapable of envisioning the "best album" of the last 25 years, but this makes the list of contenders.
 
Agreed.

"Joshua Tree" is up there as well.

 bluecshells wrote:


AGREED!!!!!!!
 


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song, and this whole album...

 
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good for the feet...  from one of the best albums in infinity...


 

AGREED!!!!!!!
I'm incapable of envisioning the "best album" of the last 25 years, but this makes the list of contenders.


This song is soooo good for the feet...  from one of the best albums in infinity...


 SoundsGoodToMe wrote:
Good song, but a -100 for "borrowing" another cultures music without so much as giving them a co-writing credit, and stealing from Los Lobos to boot, and telling them to go sue him (see comments below.)   Art Garfunkel always was the talent, this guy is a fraud.
 
LMAO !!! I suugest that you look out for the TV documentary on the making of this Album that took 2 years plus to make. Paul Simon rented an old studio in south africa and asked anyone who could play any instrument or voice to come along and just jam. I wont go into further details but take it from me he did NOT steal/borrow in fact he introduced the world outside of the townships to many many African musicians and singers that I had never heard of before and most likely Millions of other music lovers. Keep an eye out for the documentary it is very enlightening. 

PS it has a reference to the title of this track .... Interested ???

My kids got saturated with simon, beatles,led zepp, gabriel,csny,roxy music,......... as adults they still love this alblum. as I do. Great music stands up and gets noticed whenever it gets played.
Thanks RP!
Excellent album just like his performance was which coincided the day the Iraq war started.  Jan.16th, 1991 under the first Bush Pres. The show was great, the war's another story.
 linden wrote:
I've never understood why it's only Paul Simon that gets crap for "stealing" from another culture's music. Why not Peter Gabriel? Should Led Zeppelin been allowed to play the blues? Should Jimi Hendrix not have played rock guitar? Should no white people play jazz? Should Yo-Yo Ma not play classical? What?
 

...i've never heard anyone give paul simon a hard time over his musical appropriations, nor david byrne for that matter, in fact to my knowledge they're both widely praised for their sonic explorations in similar vein...

Ooohooowoohoo, not so much, but love that fretless bass.


I wish life was always like this song
 ch83575 wrote:
Probably one of the best albums ever.
 
Certainly one of the best albums ever

Probably one of the best albums ever.
 Businessgypsy wrote:
Yes comrade, death to the running dog capitalists - but is it good for your ears?
 


This song is still soooo good for the ears...

 

This album came out just after my mom visited four African countries as part of a journalists' exchange. She heard this song and loved the way Paul Simon integrated the South African music into a pop song. My mom passed away in 1993, but this song will always remind me of her.
this is by far my fav Paul Simon Album. Part of the joy of listening to his music is the CLARITY of the recording.
 linden wrote:
I've never understood why it's only Paul Simon that gets crap for "stealing" from another culture's music. Why not Peter Gabriel? Should Led Zeppelin been allowed to play the blues? Should Jimi Hendrix not have played rock guitar? Should no white people play jazz? Should Yo-Yo Ma not play classical? What?
 
All musicians "steal" from one another in every way and why is that called stealing anyway?  We should share culture if we wish to preserve it. Musicians all know that they owe their love of music to people that came before them.  All artists know that they owe their love of art to people that came before them.  I think so anyway.  If not, they should.

I always have to crank this one up to dance.
I've never understood why it's only Paul Simon that gets crap for "stealing" from another culture's music. Why not Peter Gabriel? Should Led Zeppelin been allowed to play the blues? Should Jimi Hendrix not have played rock guitar? Should no white people play jazz? Should Yo-Yo Ma not play classical? What?
 mrdak wrote:

+10000

 

x infinity
 vandal wrote:
meh
 
+10000

meh
Layered rhythms are cool...
Good song, but a -100 for "borrowing" another cultures music without so much as giving them a co-writing credit, and stealing from Los Lobos to boot, and telling them to go sue him (see comments below.)   Art Garfunkel always was the talent, this guy is a fraud.


I always liked this song. Good beat, great quality sound on a nice high end sound system.
Rated this one high since it was a great peiod for Paul and those who saw him tour with this album.... 
romeotuma wrote:
... you are talking about the proletariat sneaking diamonds out of the diamond mines in the soles of their shoes...
Yes comrade, death to the running dog capitalists - but is it good for your ears?

I didn't care much for this, but as always, am happy to be able to listen to an eclectic mix that challenges my musical boundaries.

Unfortunately, I've already given this a 1, and can't have the satisfaction of doing it again.  I seem to have this problem every time there's a Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, or Michael Franti song on.


The last time I liked Paul Simon was in the Graduate soundtrack. This song has been played...
Wow, I was just thinking of this song this morning as I came into work, in particular the line "empty as a pocket."  I hadn't heard it a year or more.  And voila, here it is on RP!

And thank you so much for not playing the incredibly annoying "I Know What I Know" instead.
better than scraping the shit right off your shoes!
I just never get tired of hearing the great music from this album.

Oh, by the way, which one's Ladysmith?



Saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo live many years ago in Vancouver in a fairly small venue, it was great. I really enjoy this album.
Just never could get the appeal of Paul Simon. A bit too delicate a touch for me.
Thanks Dad... I should've been listening to him a long time ago.


We know what you are talking about, Paul...  you are talking about the proletariat sneaking diamonds out of the diamond mines in the soles of their shoes...

we just turned the volume wayyyy up...



Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo - "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes" Live (1987): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OafqYNCzq5U


Jeeze. This song was cute once... Back in the 80's. How many times can he say the title line? Good lord, let it stop!
 RadioDoc wrote:
.https://blogs.laweekly.com/play/teenage-kicks/los-lobos-on-paul-simon-do-you-1/

Far too long to quote the entire thing here, but that's probably what you remember.
  Holy cats.  "Thanks" for the interview link.  Graceland "is" (was) a big favorite.  Damn.  In retrospect, it is SOOOO obvious that "..the Myth of the Fingerprints, or whatever he decided to call it...", as quoted from Steve Berlin, is pure Lobos. So obvious.  And I always thought to myself, "Wow!  Where did he pull that one from?"  I guess the bkg. vocals should have given me a clue.  Man.

Following brilliance like the Stones Sweet Virginia with (yawn) Paul Simon (/yawn) is flawed in so many ways. i know, i get it, there's a theme here: the whole shoes thing. 

...probably the first time I've seriously been disturbed by any seque from Bill...but a rare fail.


I always wanted the opening of this song to go a bit longer.  Oh, well.
IMHO - This album was as much of a game changer to what's possible with mainstream music as Nirvana's Nevermind. A musical landmark to be sure. And I also happen to really like it...  
 Papernapkin wrote:
He steals, he's a prick, AND his music is bland. WTF.
 
I've never seen or heard a word of complaint from Ladysmith Black Mambazo about their work with Paul Simon. In fact, I saw them perform in Boston a few years after "Graceland" came out and they spoke between songs without prompting about how happy they were to have met and worked with Simon. 

How is he a prick? When has he "stolen"? If you find his music bland, so sorry for you. Move on. 



This song is soooo good for the ears...


 Papernapkin wrote:
He steals, he's a prick, AND his music is bland. WTF.
 

He made SA music worldfamous, how do you mean he steals and being a prick WTF
He steals, he's a prick, AND his music is bland. WTF.
 skdenfeld wrote:


I'm sure he steals baby's lollipops and kills kittens, too.

 
You almost make it sound like that's a bad thing {#Stupid}

paul simon, . . .what a boor . . .
 RadioDoc wrote:
But that's the kind of person he is. He's the world's biggest prick, basically.
 

I'm sure he steals baby's lollipops and kills kittens, too.

 ThePoose wrote:
I heard that PS took a tune prepared by Los Lobos and never gave them credit.
When they asked him about this, he said, too bad for you. 

Can I get a witness? 
 
Yeah. But it was very clear to us, at the moment, we're thinking he's doing one of our songs. It would be like if he did "Will the Wolf Survive?" Literally. A few months later, the record comes out and says "Words and Music by Paul Simon." We were like, "What the fuck is this?"

We tried calling him, and we can't find him. Weeks go by and our managers can't find him. We finally track him down and ask him about our song, and he goes, "Sue me. See what happens."

What?! Come on...

That's what he said. He said, "You don't like it? Sue me. You'll see what happens." We were floored. We had no idea. The record comes out, and he's a big hit. Retroactively, he had to give songwriting credit to all the African guys he stole from that were working on it and everyone seemed to forget. But that's the kind of person he is. He's the world's biggest prick, basically.

https://blogs.laweekly.com/play/teenage-kicks/los-lobos-on-paul-simon-do-you-1/

Far too long to quote the entire thing here, but that's probably what you remember.


A great performer & song writer who always seems to be able to produce interesting work.
I heard that PS took a tune prepared by Los Lobos and never gave them credit.
When they asked him about this, he said, too bad for you. 

Can I get a witness? 
This whole album is great! {#Dance}
One of the things this album did was bring so-called "world music" to a broader audience.  Putumayo has jumped all over that "trend" and I, for one, am happy for it.  Gads.  I've done it - written my first snooty post for RP!  {#Roflol}
5:26 am - Paul Simon - Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
5:24 am - Po' Girl - Old Mountain Line

That's RP for you!


 velvetglove wrote:


I've often wondered if there is something wrong with me, because so many people (whose taste I respect) worship Graceland. After reading some of the other posts here, however, i've had an epiphany: It's not the album I loathe — it's Paul Simon.

Strangely, I love vintage Simon & Garfunkel (my mother's favorite - I heard it incessantly growing up). I just detest his solo work. No matter how brilliant in concept, the abilities of anyone else participating, or just plain groundbreaking, the mere presence of the man's voice in anything recorded after 1970 makes me cringe. I guess it's just one of those little contradictions that has to be lived with.
 

You are not alone.  I feel the same... S+G was great, but I can't stand Paul Simon's simpering voice on his own... I find this song one of the most irritating I've ever heard, plus it easily gets stuck in one's head, sometimes for days on end.
 girwunder wrote:
Paul Simon's music always makes me feel happy :-)

 

Me too!  {#Good-vibes}
I remember laying in the campground in San Sebastian, Spain. Too sick with the flu and a 102 degree fever to go to this show but I could still hear the music from not so far away. One of my fondest memories. What a great show.

Paul Simon's music always makes me feel happy :-)

Paul Simon - Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Rolling Stones - Sweet Virginia - "Gotta scrape that shit right off your shoes..."

{#Lol} 
Hearing this song played right after "Sweet Virginia" made me laugh out loud, interesting visuals.

Antigone wrote:
Yeah, me too. At Merriwether Post Pavilion in Maryland. Huge thunderstorm blew through right before the concert started. Simon mentioned it when he came on stage as the sun came back out.

My home town! I missed this one, though.

I just can't listen to this....so annoying..so dated.
When I was growing up, Graceland was a shock to the young system somehow. I listened up close with headphones many times. And now, to me, it sounds a little dated. However, I think we, in hindsight, take for granted this kind of pop-African fusion because now it sounds ubiquitious and more than a little cheesy. But when Simon made this album, nobody was really doing this kind of work. Graceland was a big refreshment from the normal pop work being put out. African music!? I had never heard anything like this before, and I was enchanted. Plus, there is a lot going on behind the surface in these songs, especially in the signature song, "Graceland," but also in others. Simon is a special songwriter, both lyrics and style.
Papernapkin wrote:
Pleasantly boring.
Hmm. More like irritatingly boring, if that's possible. It started off really well, then Paul Simon cut in and it was downhill from there. Or maybe it's just my irritation at how he's plundered (sorry, 'offered homage to') world music, taken out all the rough interesting bits, and regurgitated the pre-chewed mush to us as inoffensive muzak. Like another poster on this board, I really like S&G in the day, but Simon on his own really gets on my tits. 3 from the Nottingham jury in recognition of his past glories.
eastcoast wrote:
I love this song. Saw it live...outstanding
Yeah, me too. At Merriwether Post Pavilion in Maryland. Huge thunderstorm blew through right before the concert started. Simon mentioned it when he came on stage as the sun came back out. :sunny:
So ignorant, so wrong. ladybinnath wrote:
An obligatory 1 for the man with the most passion-free vocals in the history of rock.
Pleasantly boring.
ladybinnath wrote:
An obligatory 1 for the man with the most passion-free vocals in the history of rock.
:no:
velvetglove wrote:
I've often wondered if there is something wrong with me, because so many people (whose taste I respect) worship Graceland. After reading some of the other posts here, however, i've had an epiphany: It's not the album I loathe -- it's Paul Simon. Strangely, I love vintage Simon & Garfunkel (my mother's favorite - I heard it incessantly growing up). I just detest his solo work. No matter how brilliant in concept, the abilities of anyone else participating, or just plain groundbreaking, the mere presence of the man's voice in anything recorded after 1970 makes me cringe. I guess it's just one of those little contradictions that has to be lived with.
you have it all wrong, anything AFTER 1970 is great, anything before makes me cringe. Simon and Garfunkel were terrible, Paul Simon is amazing. (I know its just opinions here, but kinda funny to find someone with the EXACT opposite opinion as myself) Also, he doesnt have a lot of emotion in his singing, I agree, but it is so pleasantly soothing!
Good song, but I think there are better on the album.