Each and every Sunday night when the clock hits eight, The Strombo Show celebrates the spirit of radio over on CBC Radio 2. It's music for music lovers by music lovers. To kick off the program, we always tip our hats to the legends, the noisemakers and the groundbreakers in a segment that we call: Nod to the Gods.
This week, we are celebrating Paul Simon's 'Late in the Evening' off his fifth solo album, 'One-Trick Pony' from the film of the same name.
With its rhythmic salsa beat and those distinctive horns, this track became one of Simon's fan favourites. In his autobiographical film, the song soundtracks a teenage dream sequence of becoming a rockstar, falling asleep beside the radio and fronting a band. The session musicians were featured both on record and film: Eric Gale on lead guitar, pianist Richard Tee, bassist Tony Levin and on drums was Steve Gadd. It was nominated at the 1981 Grammys for Best Male Pop Performance, but lost to the soulful Kenny Loggins track, 'This Is It' off 'Keep The Fire'.
'One-Trick Pony' was produced by multiple-Grammy award-winner Phil Ramone, one of the most innovative technical minds in the recording industry. He co-founded A&R Recording (that "R" stands for Ramone) and went on to produce many including The Rolling Stones, Burt Bacharach, Bob Dylan, Karen Carpenter, Ray Charles, Elton John, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, The Guess Who, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones.
Ramone is also credited with recording Marilyn Monroe's famously intoxicated rendition of 'Happy Birthday to You' for President John F. Kennedy. He's widely recognized for technical innovations including optical surround sound for movies, and releasing the first commercially marketed compact disc for Billy Joel's '52nd Street'. He's a frequent Simon collaborator, loyally contributing to production on his most popular albums, including 'The Concert in Central Park'.
On Saturday, September 19, 1981, when Central Park welcomed half-a-million people to the Great Lawn, Simon was joined by Art Garfunkel for a reunion performance that concluded with an encore of 'Late in The Evening'. The celebrated folk duo had collaborated a handful since their break-up in 1970 on each other's solo efforts, a Madison Square Garden presidential benefit concert and the second episode of Saturday Night Live.
This time was different. Following the free concert in Central Park, the live album was released, sparking a world tour and an attempt at their first studio album in more than a decade. Creative clashes resulted, leading Simon to remove Garfunkel's vocals and reworking the songs for his 1983 album 'Hearts & Bones'.
For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or relisten, all of the episodes are archived here.