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Simon & Garfunkel — America
Album: Bookends
Avg rating:
8.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1590









Released: 1968
Length: 3:29
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Mm
Mm

"Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together"
"I've got some real estate here in my bag"
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And walked off to look for America

"Kathy," I said, as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I've come to look for America"

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said, "Be careful, his bowtie is really a camera"

"Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat"
"We smoked the last one an hour ago"
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the Moon rose over an open field

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
"I'm empty and aching, and I don't know why"
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America
Comments (209)add comment
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Impeach Trump
 
OMG - how sad that you can't get over your hate. RP is about the music. 
Fantastic song....but give me the YES version anytime!
 Lazarus wrote:
 
Sounds fun...except for the drugs. Drugs suck.
Always reminds me of catey who is no longer on RP because of me. Sorry Emilia.
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Impeach Trump
 
Vote Putin in
 Skydog wrote:
where was he at after the four day hitch hike from Saginaw?
 

Pittsburgh!
Brings back fond memories and is imho one of the best S&G songs overall... clear 10/10
Impeach Trump
Apparently Paul Simon is doing an acoustic version of this as the opener to his farewell tour now underway. It's a good choice.
 thewiseking wrote:
Quick, name a rock and roll anthem which also references the New Jersey Turnpike
 
Luckily, in Hawaiian, "quick" is "wiki" and there's a wiki for that question
"Jungleland", definitely not a lesser Springsteen track"Where I Come From" not likely to be heard here"New Jersey Turnpike" by Laurie Anderson
It's not Broadway, or Mulholland Drive, but a lot of non-Jerseyans know about it.  
 Proclivities wrote:

There's probably at least one Springsteen tune which does; maybe one of his lesser-known numbers.

 
Chuck Berry: You Can't Catch Me
 thewiseking wrote:
Quick, name a rock and roll anthem which also references the New Jersey Turnpike
 
There's probably at least one Springsteen tune which does; maybe one of his lesser-known numbers.
Quick, name a rock and roll anthem which also references the New Jersey Turnpike
Agree with Medoras, possibly their greatest album and this song a favourite.
Nice lyrics especially for that time period.  Few of us had the opportunity to Look for America so Simon/Garfunkel did it for us.
One of many brilliant songs from Bookends, which is quite possibly Simon & Garfunkel's best and most underrated album.
Also looking for America, at about the same time:
https://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02084/easyrider_2084785c.jpg
(It didn't end so well.)
where was he at after the four day hitch hike from Saginaw?
On the road...get on the road. With clear eyes and open mind and heart. 

We should all be so lucky.
Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one my raincoat.
We smoked the last one an hour ago!
So we bought some more cigarettes.
Then we smoked all those cigarettes,
And walked off to look for some cigarettes... 
 below72 wrote:
a song which could be in top ten to define a generation 

 
Agreed, and no doubt one of Paul's best compositions. 

Kind of makes me think....some generations were the 'greatest' and sacrificed to give their descendants a better life...and another generation felt lost & alone and went out to find themselves...and another expects everything to be handed to them for free.

....maybe not quite right but it seems that way sometimes... 
a song which could be in top ten to define a generation 
 mrtuba9 wrote:
'"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping...'  {#Yes}

 
This line and image was my inspiration to later write a song about a woman I sat next to on a bus.  Such inspirational music!
An effing masterpiece.  "And the moon rose over an open field..."  I saw it in my mind the first time I heard it.  That is the sign of a truly great song.
Feel the berning classic. Sweet. Don't write 'em like that anymore. 
My brother left this album at home after he went off to Vietnam and it sort of became my first album.  I can't even objectively rate this song so great was its and every other song on the album's influence on everything I heard after.  I'd like to think much of my musical taste can be traced back to this album, though I'm not sure how that accounts for all the shitty music I bought in the 70s.  
10 out of 10 :)
 
I love the Yes version, too, but I think the opposite case works better: the Yes version makes sense only as an arrangement of S&G's original. Like a jazz master bending a song to the edge of becoming unrecognizable, I think Yes was making a compliment to the original song by doing something other than a slavish cover. Both versions are beautiful, at least to me, but they're very different kinds of beauty. 

 
wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 


Good as it gets.
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
<— big Yes fan. But "America" by them is a giant pile of noise compared to this delicate exploration of existentialism.
 
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
Few people here can exceed my love for Yes (or my indifference to solo Paul Simon) but the original blows the noisy Yes version completely out of the water. They're riding a bus, not a semi truck.

"Every Little Thing", however, is a pretty good Yes cover of the Beatles tune. 
Songs simply don't get much better than this.
 The_Walrus wrote:
Staggeringly beautiful.
 
{#Yes}
'"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping...'  {#Yes}
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
Yes?  No, thank you.
Anyone see First Aid Kit do this song?....phenomenal!!
I loved that Bowie opened the Concert for Heroes after 911 with this with just a click track.
 I'm so glad to see people think this about the Yes version. Not just a cover but a tribute to S&G.
jmsmy wrote:
A GREAT Song.

One of the greatest cover songs in all of rock is Yes' version - check it out.

 


So hard to listen to. In a good way. 
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.
 LowPhreak wrote:

+1. I also like Yes' version.

 
There is a Yes version of this?!!!  My imagination presently fails me
Brilliant. 10 all the way. Nice to see this song has received more 10 ratings than any other rating.
A GREAT Song.

One of the greatest cover songs in all of rock is Yes' version - check it out.
Staggeringly beautiful.
{#Cheers} ... come on, this is as Godlike as you can get

 {#Notworthy} 

 {#Notworthy} 
Unique songwriting and harmonising - wonderful and still sounds so fresh and innocent.  {#Notworthy}
Easily one of my favorite S&G songs
"I wept for my youth, sweet passionate young thought,
And cozy women dead that by my side   
Once lay: I wept with bitter longing, not   
Remembering how in my youth I cried."

Stanley Kunitz -- I Dreamed that I Was Old

Exit 8 on the New Jersey Turnpike


Brilliant wordsmithing and storytelling.


 MassivRuss wrote:
Their best.

Discuss.

 
+1. I also like Yes' version.
Their best.

Discuss.
Such an awesome song. Nothing Paul Simon has done since can match it - inspired.
 WonderLizard wrote:
Does it say something about us as a culture that a song about lost youth has become a touchstone of sorts? I mean, you don't have Leonard Cohen crooning, "We're off in search of Canada..."

 
Leonard Cohen may not have done the "off in search of Canada" thing, but lots of other Canadian performers have, including Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Sam Roberts, Stompin' Tom Connors and Ian Tyson. (Mostly without the wistfulness of S&G's song, of course. "Helpless" being a major exception.) I'm sure those songs have not been heard in the States because FM radio programers don't want to play songs about the prairie and how damn cold it is. 

For what it's worth, I do not know whether Stompin' Tom ever mentioned Lightfoot or Young by name, but he was disdainful of those Canadian performers who went south of the border to seek larger fame and dollars. He felt they should have been truer to their Canadian heritage. To my knowledge, Stompin' Tom performed on American television only once. 

Take care.  

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
"Gabardine suits and bow ties" notwithstanding, America is one of Paul Simon's finest songs and places him among the very best of American music poets.

Featured on Bookends, which is my favorite and possibly Simon & Garfunkel's most underrated effort, I find myself revisiting this album every few years to appreciate just how good it really is.  

 eswiley2 wrote:
Average rating 9.. . I think that's the highest average rating I've seen on RP.

A timeless classic.  Written by a kid.  A kid who also gave us Sounds of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Is Justin Bieber going to hold up after 40 years like this?   I'm thinking no.
 
I think Jimi had a 9.2 yesterday, Little Wing.
Average rating 9.. . I think that's the highest average rating I've seen on RP.

A timeless classic.  Written by a kid.  A kid who also gave us Sounds of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Is Justin Bieber going to hold up after 40 years like this?   I'm thinking no.
 Art_Carnage wrote:
It was groovy, back in the day. But it comes off as way too twee and precious now. Definitely lesser S&G.
 
I think tthis song holds up really well even taking into account that it was written in a very different era, I think the story works today...young people trying to find out who they are and trying to find America while they're at it.
 Art_Carnage wrote:
It was groovy, back in the day. But it comes off as way too twee and precious now. Definitely lesser S&G.
 
I disagree.  But that doesn't mean that I think you are a bad person or anything.
 WonderLizard wrote:
Does it say something about us as a culture that a song about lost youth has become a touchstone of sorts? I mean, you don't have Leonard Cohen crooning, "We're off in search of Canada..."
Good point. 


Me loves it that Bill is playing more S&G lately.  They (together and solo) are incredibly good musicians and poets, and they spoke to an entire generation.  In fact, I hear them still...

And just look at that ratings distribution chart!
SNL-Joe Piscapo
I'm from Jersey.....You from Jersey?
What exit?
(I'm from exit 9......don't count the cars...there's too many!)    
 coding_to_music wrote:
Eleven
 
Eleven it is. This song is amazing in the visuals
 spindrift wrote:
There's so much in this song of a bygone era.  How many gabardine suits and bowties are on inter city busses nowadays?  Let alone smoking...
 
Don't blink. Magazines and of scenery of open fields are next...
Does it say something about us as a culture that a song about lost youth has become a touchstone of sorts? I mean, you don't have Leonard Cohen crooning, "We're off in search of Canada..."
 coding_to_music wrote:
Eleven
 
{#Yes}
Eleven
Love
There's so much in this song of a bygone era.  How many gabardine suits and bowties are on inter city busses nowadays?  Let alone smoking...
It was groovy, back in the day. But it comes off as way too twee and precious now. Definitely lesser S&G.
 Proclivities wrote:

If I recall correctly, one of the zoos in NYC (Central Park or Bronx Zoo, perhaps) used that tune as background music in some TV spots in the late 1960's or early 70's.

 
And the Houston Zoo!  
Love this so much!


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...


 
 jadewahoo wrote:
The haunting pathos that this song expresses is alive and questing within me still...
 
Yes I feel it too...

A GREAT BIG  1 0 
{#Sleep}
mythical
mystical
michigan
saginaw
That was a slice, thanks so much for playing it. I have not heard this since Moby Dick was a guppy. Loved it then, love it still.
 xtalman wrote:
 I think it was the Bronx Zoo.  They use to advertise pretty heavily on the independent stations before the advent of nationwide cable.  At least I remember them when I was a kid back then in Jersey.
 
Yes, it probably was The Bronx Zoo - on channels 5, 9, and/or 11 in the pre-cable days.  {#Yes}

One of their best songs on their best album.

Sounds still great!
 Proclivities wrote:

If I recall correctly, one of the zoos in NYC (Central Park or Bronx Zoo, perhaps) used that tune as background music in some TV spots in the late 1960's or early 70's.

 I think it was the Bronx Zoo.  They use to advertise pretty heavily on the independent stations before the advent of nationwide cable.

At least I remember them when I was a kid back then in Jersey.



Bill, THANK YOU,  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU,
for the stunning, luscious, prisitine Ogg Vorbis stream !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its sounds so much better than anything I have EVER heard online.

RP is the best !

Amazing song.  So poetic without rhyming at all.
From a Michigan news website:

"In The Margins: Guerrilla art causes us look for Saginaw medium of some of those lyrical messages, not so much"

https://www.mlive.com/opinion/saginaw/index.ssf/2010/12/in_the_margins_guerilla_art_ca.html#incart_mrt
 jim1964 wrote:

I'll second that, "At the Zoo" is worth another listen, a song that I always thought the parks department should have adopted that as an official song.

 
If I recall correctly, one of the zoos in NYC (Central Park or Bronx Zoo, perhaps) used that tune as background music in some TV spots in the late 1960's or early 70's.

 linzie wrote:
This and The Boxer...my favorites...
...makes me want to go out and look for America..
kinda corny, but I can picture it while this is playing...
..shit, I'm getting old...(though I didn't appreciate this then!!)
 
Second that. This, "The Boxer," and "Mrs. Robinson" are Simon at his aphoristic best.

Has anyone read Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher?  Quite a few funny stories about Paul SImon in there. They were a couple for a while...


This and The Boxer...my favorites...
...makes me want to go out and look for America..
kinda corny, but I can picture it while this is playing...
..shit, I'm getting old...(though I didn't appreciate this then!!)
 kurtster wrote:

Thanks for that thought.  I think I will do just that.  The whole album is a 10.
 
I'll second that, "At the Zoo" is worth another listen, a song that I always thought the parks department should have adopted that as an official song.

 medoras wrote:
For those S & G fans who first heard America 40 years ago, it's time to revisit Bookends.

It's quite possibly one of Simon & Garfunkel's finest and most underrated albums. 

 
Thanks for that thought.  I think I will do just that.  The whole album is a 10.


 gatorade wrote:
Changed my world. A 10.
 
{#Yes}

Changed my world. A 10.
The haunting pathos that this song expresses is alive and questing within me still...

Huomatkaa Paulin ilme by ~Kissa21
©2007-2010 ~Kissa21

For those S & G fans who first heard America 40 years ago, it's time to revisit Bookends.

It's quite possibly one of Simon & Garfunkel's finest and most underrated albums. 

 damienmc wrote:
"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"- Has always killed me...in a beautiful way.

 
{#Yes}

Love this song.. lived it with my GF (now wife){#Dancingbanana}
Last saturday I was driving with friends up in the Andes here in Peru. My friend (driving) was looking for this song as we drove up to the trailhead to hike to a glacier. Looking for another part of America.   {#Motor}
Haunting.  One of my all time favorites.
"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"- Has always killed me...in a beautiful way.

 rtrudeau wrote:
Has it really been 40 years? A 10 then, a 10 now.
 
Alas, it has - since I brought this album home from the Five and Dime store, bought with money made by mowing lawns.

As wonderful to hear now as it was then.

Interesting.....

Theres a song out there where the lady sings, I am holding a half acre of Michigan, which is kind of, uh, powerful like the Saginaw quote...it's a ? group named 'Hem' I believe.

Thanks for posting the U Tube Link.  I like Yes a lot, but egad I couldn't get with this version.  Yuck.  Love RP, and all of you though.  :)
"It took me four days to hitchike from Saginaw.
We've all gone to look for America."

Yeah.  (Sighs.)  It has been forty years.
Stunning. Just stunning.
 rtrudeau wrote:
Has it really been 40 years? A 10 then, a 10 now.
 
Most of their stuff has aged amazingly well, with a few exceptions; Paul could get a bit precious at times, and then there's the occasional harpsichord (just a pet peeve of mine) but overall an incredible body of work in a short period of time. Simon's lyrics were so worldy-wise for a kid in his early 20s. Like the Beatles, this music will never die.

Has it really been 40 years? A 10 then, a 10 now.


This song is soooo good for the ears...


pope183 wrote:


Yes does a very high energy surprising version that is worth checking out ...
America - Yes click to see on YouTube opens in a new window


rickhoran
(Eastern PA)
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 - 02:28

spudboy wrote: YES does an amazing version of this song. One of the few covers I prefer to the original.

agreed.

raga
(Italy - Como)
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 - 02:31

(click here)
YES!

was just listening to that YESterday. It's great how they rock it out a bit in the middle with that crazy beat and twangy guitar.


 Bazooka wrote:
sleepy...very sleepy now...
 

Yes does a very high energy surprising version that is worth checking out ...
   America - Yes   click to see on YouTube     opens in a new window


rickhoran
(Eastern PA)
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 - 02:28 

spudboy wrote: YES does an amazing version of this song. One of the few covers I prefer to the original.

agreed.

raga
(Italy - Como)
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 - 02:31 

                      (click here)
YES!



sleepy...very sleepy now...
 Makes me want to hit the road for a few months.  Or the Appalachian Trail.

 Sgpepr wrote:
My favorite S & G tune, one of the best tunes for mental imagery.  A sidenote regarding this tune from the "misheard lyrics" category:  the line "Michigan seems like a dream to me now"...one time I thought he was saying, "This chicken seems like a dream to me now:.  {#Tongue}
 
Duh!  ;^ )
 Montyontherun wrote:
This song is so full of young wonder at the world.. I had it.. where's it gone?
 
It's still there.
You've gotten older.
What a shame.

"As for me and my house"... I'm never growing up!

My absolute favorite S&G tune.  I still wonder if my Kathy ever found what she was looking for.  10
Congratulations to everyone in the US our new president!!  {#Biggrin}
My favorite S & G tune, one of the best tunes for mental imagery.  A sidenote regarding this tune from the "misheard lyrics" category:  the line "Michigan seems like a dream to me now"...one time I thought he was saying, "This chicken seems like a dream to me now:.  {#Tongue}
While Bridge Over Troubled Water garners most of the Simon & Garfunkel praise, I always thought Bookends to be one of their finest albums.

What more can you say when you listen to America? Paul Simon's songwriting skills at their finest.