Paul Simon given title of new album in dream on anniversary of dad’s death
Paul Simon was told the title of his new album in a dream on the anniversary of his dad’s death.
‘The Sound of Silence’ singer, 81, woke in 2019 on 15 January – the date his musician father Louis died in 1995 – and scrawled the words ‘Seven Psalms’ on a piece of paper as the phrase was an “insistent statement” he was given while sleeping.
He told The Sunday Times: “The dream was specific. ‘You are writing, or are meant to write, a piece called Seven Psalms.’
“It was a very insistent statement, so much so that I wrote it down.”
Paul keeps the lined A4 sheet on which he wrote the words framed in his office.
But he stressed despite the religious feel of the phrase, he soon decided the record was not going to be based on the Bible.
He added: “The next day I looked at the Bible and thought, ‘Well, the piece isn’t going to be like this.’
“And then it was a case of, ‘Well, what is it going to be like? I have no idea, but then it wasn’t my idea anyway. I’ll just wait here until I have more information.’”
Reviewers have said Paul uses the 33-minute record to ponder faith and mortality.
The songwriter added he realised the album’s final song ‘Wait’, on which his musician wife Edie Brickell, 57, duets, was about himself.
Its first verse contains the lines: “I’m not ready, I’m just packing my gear, Wait, My hand’s steady, My mind is still clear, Heaven is beautiful, It’s almost like home, Children, get ready, It’s time to come home.”
Paul tearfully told his interviewer: “It’s a spooky thing to be writing something and just be thinking, ‘Oh, this is what the song needs.’
“And then it’s, ‘By the way, this is about you. You’re actually the subject of this.’
“It’s just the age we’re at. Gordon Lightfoot just passed away, Jeff Beck too. My generation’s time is up.”
Paul also said in the interview he had “suddenly lost” hearing in his left ear “and nobody has an explanation for it”.
He added: “So everything became more difficult. My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself.”