Oct 132021
 

‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

best paul simon covers

“I usually come in second to Dylan,” Paul Simon once said, “and I don’t like coming in second.” Indeed, he’s had to deal with it literally ever since he was born, in 1941. We already celebrated Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday in May, and today we turn to the man Dylan has called “one of the preeminent songwriters of the times,” Paul Simon, as he hits his own 80th. Simon’s in the rarified air of someone whose songs get covered almost as much as Dylan’s (ugh – second place again), so for this month’s Best Covers Ever, we’re diving into covers of the entire Paul Simon catalog, both solo and with Simon and Garfunkel.

Another thing Dylan once said about Simon, in relation to his own music, is this: “I’m not Paul Simon. I can’t do that. My songs come out of folk music and early rock n’ roll, and that’s it. I’m not a classical lyricist, I’m not a meticulous lyricist. I don’t write melodies that are clever or catchy.”

False modesty aside, Dylan hits on some of what makes Simon’s work so beloved by other musicians. His melodies are clever and catchy. His lyrics are meticulous. In both words and music, Simon can use a little to say a lot. His songs have strong cores, but leave a lot of space for other artists to play around with. So it’s no surprise that the list below spans genres from punk, dance music, gospel, and more. You’ll hear every sound except one: Silence (sorry). No matter how afield the songs roam, though, they still sound like Paul Simon.

So enough talk about Simon being a perennial silver medal winner. His craft and his talent have earned him and his songs a place at the top of the medal podium, and these fifty covers prove it.

The list begins on Page 2.

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

  16 Responses to “The 50 Best Paul Simon Covers Ever”

Comments (16)
  1. I think you meant “50 Ways to Be Your Cover.”

  2. No Disturbed?!? Paul Simeon thaught their cover was good enough to post on his webpage. He didn’t do that for any other cover. Just destroyed the integrity of your whole list.

    • Agreed! I went right to page 6, assuming it would be top 3, at least. But not to be on the list at all is disturbing.

  3. One additional fact about the great Bowie version: he was pretty ill that night, with a high fever. Makes this rendition even more stunning

  4. The disrespect for Harpers Bizarre is unforgivable

  5. I enjoyed listening to this list. Thank you!

  6. Suprised by the lack of Willie Nelson and the Bangles, but it’s a good list.

  7. I saw Kurt Elling do American Tune at a concert in Vancouver BC that brought a tear or 2 to my eyes. It’s on an album he made.

  8. Yes- America!!!

  9. Can’t wait to read and listen to this – !! Saving it for this weekend when I can dig in.

  10. Great list. I can think of songs I’d add – Rumer’s “Long Long Day” would be top of my list of omissions, but like others have said I’d definitely put Yes’s “America” and Willie’s “Graceland” in (I like his version better than Paul’s), but I was introduced to a bunch of great covers here I didn’t know. Thanks so much!

  11. Barnstar – Boy in the Bubble (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q0_1721YBjs)

    Ben Sollee – The Obvious Child

    Barrett Smith and Shannon Whitworth – Duncan

    Marc Cohn – The Only Living Boy in NY

    Allira Wilson, Harry Mitchell, Ben Vanderwal & Karl Florisson – Kathy’s Song

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)