Paul McCartney, Miley, Kanye & Paul Simon Soundtrack SNL 40 in Style

Miley Cyrus performs Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" for Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary special.
A party four decades in the making, the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special embraced what the show's been about from the start: banking on old and new in equal measure for the sake of sparking laugh riots and iconic pop culture moments. The sketches, cameos, and monologues came from the crème de la crème of comedy, with a blitz of major marquee names — Steve Martin! Billy Crystal! Tom Hanks! Chris Rock! Melissa McCarthy! Tina! Amy! Maya! Chevy! — all making their appearances within the first hour of the 150-minute broadcast. Martin Short and Maya Rudolph (who nailed her Beyoncé impression) rolled through a handful of fantastic musical highlights that have soundtracked the show's history and made for some awesome characters (the Blues Brothers! the Butabi brothers! Marty and Bobbi!). While looking back on the musical clips of yesteryear made for an exquisitely curated nostalgic detour, SNL 40 offered four more to be considered for the list, but only two of them are worth joining the ranks of the 40 we've already gushed over — and both songs were written by the same artist.

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Live: Paul Simon And Wynton Marsalis Bridge The Gap At The Rose Theater

courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center
Paul Simon and Wynton Marsalis
Rose Theater
Friday, April 20

Better than: Fighting the jazz wars.

"My father was the family bassman," sang Paul Simon on a song from Simon and Garfunkel's last album, a line as true as confessional poetry. Like Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, Simon grew up as the son of a bandleader (who led a big band for years under the name "Lee Simms"), and he would watch backstage at the Roseland Ballroom while his father prepared charts by Ellington and sequoias of swing, explaining to his son how he would rotate the keys of each song so that the listener—whether musically literate or not—would feel refreshed. (Paul Simon explained this method to Dick Cavett when he was trying to come up with a bridge to "Still Crazy After All These Years.")

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Laura Nyro (10) And Paul Simon (2) Take SOTC's March Madness Tournament Down By The Schoolyard

Categories: Paul Simon

​Sound of the City's search for the quintessential New York City musician enters Round Two this week. Today, all the remaining contenders in the Uptown division battle it out in the Round of 32. Keep up with all the action here.

In a stunning upset, No. 10 seed Laura Nyro has upended the brackets of musicologists throughout the New York metropolitan area by toppling perpetual online fan favorite Lady Gaga early. She now moves on to the second round, and is facing a formidable opponent: No. 2 seed Paul Simon, who beat out Slick Rick in the round of 64. Can Nyro continue her unlikely run? Or will Simon&30151;one of the most important musicians of the past half-century, and an avid chronicler of New York's past—prove triumphant?

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Paul Simon (2) Takes On Slick Rick (15) As Round One Of Our Quintessential New York Musician Tournament Continues

The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—is under way, and you get to help choose who makes it to Round Two. Today we pit Garfunkel's better half Paul Simon against the "Children's Story" teller Slick Rick. Check out the arguments in favor of each contestant below, then cast your ballot at the bottom of the page.

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So Beautiful? So What: Why The Grammys Shoved Paul Simon Aside And Embraced Skrillex

A good while back, I was envisioning a Grammy-night dogfight between what, at that point, were my two favorite albums of 2011: Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Paul Simon's So Beautiful or So What. (Both ended up on my Pazz & Jop ballot.)I mentioned this to Maura and she said, "No. Adele." Up went my vision in smoke. Still, I figured the Englishwoman would at least be looking back in passing at the Egg Lady and Mr. Grammy together. Of course they'd both be nominated, I figured. Gaga is Gaga, and Simon's album wasn't simply his strongest work since Graceland—after many, many plays (none for work, incidentally—I didn't write about it), I think So Beautiful might be his best album, period.

Obviously, my predictions didn't mean anything. Gaga has nothing to worry about, but not only wasn't Simon nominated for Album of the Year, he wasn't nominated for anything at all. This for a guy who managed a 2001 Album nod for the outright dud You're the One—never mind that he's one of only three people to win three times for AOTY: in 1971 for Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, in 1976 for Still Crazy After All These Years, and in 1987 for Graceland. Simon may stew over "coming in second" to Bob Dylan all these years, but this year was his chance to at least try to pull ahead of fellow three-Album winners Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder (whom Simon thanked in 1976 for not "mak[ing] an album this year") in the Grammy sweeps.

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The Would-Be Bankrobber Who Attempted to Impersonate Paul Simon Was "Depressed," Cops Said

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"A con man trying to impersonate Paul Simon was arrested for trying to take money out of the singer's bank account," reports the Post. Though the man, named Rafael Ramos, had the singer's social security and bank account numbers, "the teller became suspicious after realizing the suspect is 10 inches taller and 14 years younger than the 5-foot-3, 68-year-old Simon." Because the only thing more unlikely than impersonating a really famous person in the town in which he lives is impersonating one of the shortest humans currently alive. "He was charged with attempted larceny," according to the paper, "but was taken to a hospital after telling the arresting officers he was depressed, cops said." Dude's putative big score? $4,300. So not worth it once Tony Soprano and Bobby Baccalieri hear about this. [NYP]

Live: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel Reunite at the Beacon Theater


Paul Simon
Beacon Theater
February 13

Consider the slack, orgasmic vagueness that invades Paul Simons face as, down below, his right hand twitches, by reflex alone, into the first four chords of "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"--a song that appears, even when being played by the man who wrote it, to have written itself. At times like this, in an overfilled, over-stimulated Beacon Theater, our evening's entertainment just gets out of the way. For that handful of seconds, Simon is an instrument, a conduit, nothing more, the place where inchoate nostalgia gathers, takes form, and is applauded.

Michael Bloomberg is here. So is Tony Soprano, and Chuck Close. Paul McCartney waves from the wings and nearly causes a stampede. Arriving at the theater, I end up in the presumable background of many a photo of Bon Jovi and his wife. To get to my seat, I have to push past Steve Schirripa, who continues talking as I circumnavigate his considerable torso: Do you know how many favors I called in for this?

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