The Simon & Garfunkel Song That Still Makes Paul Simon Cringe and How He Rewrote It with Stephen Colbert

On Simon & Garfunkel‘s third album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, there’s a song that Paul Simon still loathes. “As it’s coming up, I’m thinking, ‘Here it comes, here it comes,” said Simon about the track “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” while in conversation with Stephen Colbert in 2024.

Simon continued with the closing “‘Life, I love you…All is groovy.’ In my own shows, I don’t do it unless I make a mistake and I do it to punish myself.”

Written by Simon, it’s still a song he rarely performs yet did it with Garfunkel when they were together since it was a hit.

Videos by American Songwriter

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Paul Simon Wrote for Other Artists]

Queensboro Bridge

The song came to Simon while he was walking over the Queensboro Bridge, which spans the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Lyrics like Just kicking down the cobblestones referenced the rocky pavement near the beginning of the bridge. Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing captured the bronze lampposts set at the Manhattan and Queens ends of the bridge.

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy

Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t you got no rhymes for me?
Doo-ait-n-doo-doo, feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy

I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy

Simon & Colbert’s “Feelin’ Groovy”

During a 2017 appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Simon said he doesn’t perform “Feelin’ Groovy” anymore. “I loathe that song,” he told Colbert. It just sounds naive. It doesn’t sound like 2017″ before he starts singing the opening lines.

Colbert then suggests updating the lyrics to reflect modern times and sings the next verse while Simon plays guitar:

Hello lamppost, nice to see ya
We might get bombed by North Korea
We’re getting close to World War III
So run for the shelters, feelin’ groovy

Simon and Colbert then added more new lyrics and took turns singing.

Simon: The Arctic is melting, the seas are boiling
Colbert: These aren’t the first pants that I’m soiling / We won’t survive the century / We’re all doomed, I’m feelin’ groovy

[RELATED: From Simon & Garfunkel to The Bangles: The Evolution of “A Hazy Shade of Winter”]

Colbert continued, referencing then-President Donald Trump’s administration and former senior counselor.

Kellyanne Conway makes no senses
And even if Trump goes, we’re stuck with Mike Pence
‘Cus he might win the big one in 2020

Both then sing Nevertheless, all is groovy.

When they both finished Simon still felt the same about the song and added, “I hate it.”

Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

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