Friday, October 8, 2021

The Bitter Sweet Story of Kathy's Song

 Written by Paul Simon, sung by Art Garfunkel, Kathy's Song remains one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. When I study the lyrics, I am in awe of Paul Simon's use of words. I could listen to it for hours with the music washing over me like a warm sea. The story behind the song brings so much meaning and so much sadness.

Simon and Garfunkel's first album, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, was released in October 1964, and did not do well. Paul Simon went to England where he performed in folk clubs and pubs where he met Kathy Chitty, who worked at one of the clubs. They became passionate lovers and she became his muse. He wrote Homeward Bound in Widnes, Essex, while waiting for a train and longing for Kathy.

They returned to United States and toured by bus (listen to Paul Simon's America where she is mentioned twice). Back in UK, The Paul Simon Songbook, featuring Kathy with Paul on the album cover, was released in August 1965 and included Kathy's Song which he wrote when in New York while she was in England.

In the meantime, the producer of Wednesday Morning 3 AM took the song The Sound of Silence, reworked the music, and released it as a Single in 1965 and in 1966 it was at the top of the charts. Paul Simon and Kathy returned to America, where Simon and Garfunkel began recording the series of albums for which they are famous. When I was in University in the late 60s, you could not turn on the radio without hearing Simon and Garfunkel.

Fame, fortune and public attention overwhelmed the incredibly shy and sensitive Kathy. She and Paul had a very traumatic breakup and Kathy returned to England. 

Simon and Garfunkel released their last album, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, in 1971 and their on again-off again partnership was off. They reunited several times for concerts and tours the most famous of which was 1981's concert in the Park, but never recorded another album.

When I read of Paul Simon's subsequent marriages and deep depression, I wonder "what if..."

Kathy’s Song

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls
And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies
My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day
And a song I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme
And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you
And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Paul Simon
Kathy’s Song lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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  1. This post is way off schedule as I was working on a marketing research project for a friend for five days.

  2. I was a huge Simon and Garfunkel fan back in the day too. This is indeed an incredibly beautiful song. I wonder whatever happened to Kathy. I hope she had a good life.

    1. Kathy lives in a remote Welsh village with her partner of 40 years. They have 3 children. She does not grant interviews


  3. It is a truly beautiful song, and perhaps the most moving love song that I know.
    And thank you for the update on Kathy in your response to the comment above. I hope she retains some good memories of those difficult years.

    1. You are welcome. It was running into that article in the comments below the video of Art Garfunkel's version that inspired me to write this post.

  4. Well, damn. That is sad. But it's that kind of heartache from which the most beautiful of art is borne.

  5. Seeing it written adds depth. I believe we retain more through vision than through hearing.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. Some are oral learners. Many are visual learners. I must see it. Lectures with no overheads, slides or chalk board were of less use to me than those with. Part of it may be my hearing - too much time cuddled up to the exhaust manifold of a no cab diesel tractor

  6. Interesting read.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  7. I still love Simon and Garfunkel. Poor Kathy, and poor Paul. Not the first casualties of fame, and undoubtedly not the last; but I actually feel sorrier for Kathy than I do for Paul. He chose the lifestyle but she didn't. I can only imagine how invasive it must feel to her, to be followed by the media AGAIN fifty years later.

    1. Yes, she had it the most difficult, I think. British tabloids are the worst for invading people's lives. How do their reporters and photographers live with them selves. Certainly no empathy.


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