The 35 Best Paul Simon Quotes

The 81-year-old New Jersey-born singer/songwriter Paul Simon remains one of the biggest and most celebrated names in music.

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Just uttering it brings to mind lilting, beautiful harmonies, and equally lovely lyricism.

Whether performing solo or within his duo, Simon & Garfunkel (with Art Garfunkel), Simon has penned songs like “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “America,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” “My and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “The Boxer,” among many more acclaimed tracks.

But with someone so prolific on the page, it begs the question: what does Simon have to say about life and love, his craft, and the world at large outside of his music?

Let’s dive into the 35 best Paul Simons quotes.

1. “There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful.”

2. “My whole artistic life has always been about change, change, change, move on, move on. It’s the only thing I find interesting.”

3. “I’m not in it for the money. I like music. I love to write music. I can’t imagine myself not playing or singing or writing. It would just drive me crazy if I didn’t.”

4. “I don’t very often think I’ve done a good job. I don’t like the majority of what I do. I shouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I’m not satisfied with almost everything that I do.”

5. “I think ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was a very good song. Artie sang it beautifully. ‘The Boxer’ was a really nice record. But I don’t think I’ve written any great songs.”

6. “Artie travels all the time. The rehearsals were just miserable. Artie and I fought all the time. He didn’t want to do the show with my band; he just wanted me on acoustic guitar.”

7. “We’ve survived by believing our life is going to get better.”

8. “My voice is my improvisational instrument, the melody instrument. The guitar is a harmonic structure. I’m not a good enough guitarist to improvise on it.”

9. “When I was 15, I made a solo record. It made Artie very unhappy. He looked upon it as something of a betrayal.”

10. “Without Arthur’s voice, I never would have enjoyed that success.”

11. “I think I have a superior brain and an inferior stature, if you really want to get brutal about it.”

12. “I rate each album as better than the last one. That’s how I see it.”

13. “Anybody can do bad work, but not everybody does good work.”

14. “I don’t believe what the papers are saying They’re just out to capture my dime, Exaggerating this, exaggerating that.”

15. “I try to open up my heart as much as I can and keep a real keen eye out that I don’t get sentimental. I think we’re all afraid to reveal our hearts. It’s not at all in fashion.”

16. “When I began making my own albums, the songs became funkier. They were more about the streets.”

17. “The record company stays out of my way. Whenever the record is finished, they take it.”

18. “One of the things that upset me was some of the criticism leveled at Simon and Garfunkel. I always took exception to it, but actually, I agree with a lot of it.”

19. “It’s pointless to be critical of your stuff once it’s done. I don’t spend a lot of time agonizing over it. It’s of no importance once it’s finished.”

20. “It’s a big error to think that because you like somebody’s work, you’re going to like him.”

21. “I don’t feel any pressure from fans. But I’m always in some kind of state of emotional turmoil. I would not describe myself as happy-go-lucky. That’s not to say that I’m not happy.”

22. “How much can you do with two voices? You can sing thirds or you can sing fifths or you can do a background harmony.”

23. “As long as you have capital punishment there is no guarantee that innocent people won’t be put to death.”

24. “Being an artist doesn’t mean that you’re a good artist. That was the bargain I first made with myself: I’d say, I’m an artist, but I’m not really very good.”

25. “Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.”

26. “I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It’s chicken and eggs. And I said I gotta use that one.”

27. “If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, you’ve created a special little thing, and that’s what I’m looking for because if you get pompous, you lose everything.”

28. “Facts can be turned into art if one is artful enough.”

29. “Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo.”

30. “Artie is a singer, and I’m a writer and player and a singer. We didn’t work together on a creative level and prepare the songs. I did that.”

31. “Having a track record to live up to and a history of successes had become a hindrance. It becomes harder to break out of what people expect you to do.”

32. “We were always able to sing and blend well together; that’s our gift. But aside from that, we’re really two different guys.”

33. “I suppose an artist takes the elements of his life and rearranges them and then has them perceived by others as though they were the elements of their lives.”

34. “I question what emotion Manilow touches. People are entertained by him. But are they emotionally moved? I don’t believe anything that Barry Manilow sings.”

35. “I’m more interested in what I discover than what I invent.”

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