He’s performed for half a million people in Central Park, recorded a dozen hit albums, popped up in Annie Hall, and worn a full-plumed turkey suit on Saturday Night Live. Through it all, Paul Simon’s sweet, reedy voice has remained a constant since the ’60s. Now the first-ever Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is being bestowed upon the 65-year-old singer, and PBS is set to air the celebration tomorrow.
The show features a bevy of famous artists singing songs from Simon’s oeuvre — Lyle Lovett does “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Stephen Marley does a reggae version of “Mother and Child Reunion,” Shawn Colvin and Alison Krauss do an extraordinary rendition of “The Boxer” . . . and Grover and Elmo (it is PBS) harmonize nicely on “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).” Just as fun to watch is the archival footage of Simon performances — from venues as far-flung as Zimbabwe and as close-to-home as Yankee Stadium — and the many artists who have sung his songs (Elvis, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin). And yes, Art Garfunkel does show up.
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