50 Best Paul Simon Quotes On Life & Music

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Which are your favorite Paul Simon quotes?

Paul Simon is an American musician, actor, and producer. He is most popularly known for his massive success as a solo artist and his duo music group ‘Simon & Garfunkel’, which he formed with his schoolmate and fellow popular singer ‘Art Garfunkel’.

Along with Garfunkel, the duo successfully released five studio albums and became one of the most acclaimed groups of the 1960s. Simon notably composed most of the group’s best hits, including ‘The Sound of Silence’, ‘Mrs. Robinson’, and ‘The Boxer’.

Following the group split, Simon recorded three solo albums, all of which came out in the top 5 on the most prestigious music chart globally, the ‘Billboard 200’.

Here’s our collection of the best Paul Simon quotes:


50 Best Paul Simon Quotes On Life & Music

1. “Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.” – Paul Simon

2. “I just said, you know, this is a great track but this lyric, I don’t believe it. It sounds like I’m trying to say something, instead of it naturally coming out of me, like I was saying something that I already knew. Anyway, I can’t remember what it was. And either I threw it all out or I threw 90 percent of it out and kept a line or two. That’s happened a couple of times to me. Not too often, but a couple of times. Very aggravating when it does happen.” – Paul Simon

3. “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.” – Paul Simon

4. “Two times two is twenty-two, four times four is forty-four. When numbers get serious, they leave a mark on your door.” – Paul Simon

5. “When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” – Paul Simon

6. “Lord, I am a surgeon and music is my knife. It cuts away my sorrow and purifies my life.” – Paul Simon

7. “I’ve got a reason to believe we all be received in Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee.” – Paul Simon

8. “Justice Stevens is one of those who are most sensitive to the least powerful in our society.” – Paul Simon

9. “These are the days of lasers in the jungle, staccato signals of constant information…” – Paul Simon


10th of 50 Paul Simon Quotes

10. “Instead of thinking in terms of chords, I think of voice-leading; that is, melody line and bass line, and where the bass line goes. If you do that, you’ll have the right chord. [These voices] will give you some alternatives, and you can play those different alternatives to hear which one suits your ear… Keep the bass line moving so you don’t stay in one spot: if you have an interesting bass line and you roll it against the melody, the chords are going to come out right.” – Paul Simon


11. “I don’t think [Dylan and the Beatles] influenced me a lot. I think it was inevitable; they were so powerful that you couldn’t really escape the influence.” – Paul Simon

12. “Anybody can do bad work, but not everybody does good work.” – Paul Simon

13. “I met my old lover on the street last night. She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled. Then we talked about some old times and we drank ourselves some beers, still crazy after all these years.” – Paul Simon

14. “Jay Ashby is simply a great musician!” – Paul Simon

15. “Not every song I write is ecstasy. And it can happen only one time. After that, when you sing the same melody and words, it’s pleasure, but you don’t get wiped out.” – Paul Simon

16. “I like them all. … They’re all pictures of me when I wrote them. … I have no favorite songs.” – Paul Simon

17. “Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?” – Paul Simon

18. “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.” – Paul Simon

19. “I sort of recognize it, as opposed to shaping it. Oh, that’s a good idea, that’s a good line. I wonder where I can use that. And when you get into a rhyme group like ‘not,’ you got a lot of rhymes, you got a lot of choices. The more you do it, the luckier you get.” – Paul Simon


20th of 50 Paul Simon Quotes

20. “I don’t really know why an idea comes to me. But all of a sudden, an idea comes and from experience, I can intuit what something means when an interesting line pops up. Or I can intuit what an interesting choice might be. And I can try a couple of different choices, and see which one feels right, and then continue the song to see where it goes.” – Paul Simon


21. “Faith is an island in the setting sun, But the proof is the bottom line for everyone.” – Paul Simon

22. “The problem is all inside your head, she said to me The answer is easy if you take it logically I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.” – Paul Simon

23. “Most of the time, when I had hits as a soloist – maybe not so much with Simon & Garfunkel – I was surprised they were hits. I didn’t know what the hits were. I never thought that ‘Loves Me Like A Rock’ was going to be a hit, or ‘Mother And Child Reunion,’ or ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.’ They didn’t sound like what the hits sounded like at the time. Radio was more open to things that weren’t exactly what every other hit was.” – Paul Simon

24. “Life I love you, all is groovy.” – Paul Simon

25. “It’s actually very difficult to make something both simple and good.” – Paul Simon

26. “I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.” – Paul Simon

27. “The public hungers to see talented young people kill themselves.” – Paul Simon

28. “Sail on silver girl, sail on by…your time has come to shine All your dreams are on their way…see how they shine..oh and if you need a friend. I’m sailing right behind.” – Paul Simon

29. “Most of the time, the songs have jokes in them, little sarcastic things, or purposely kitsch or something. So that’s going along with a story, as I do in life, just talking to myself and making fun of stuff and laughing at stuff that’s serious. And sometimes it’s a good idea to put the laughing into the songs. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s all right just to be serious. But most of the songs have some kind of joke in them.” – Paul Simon


30th of 50 Paul Simon Quotes

30. “Big-box just wasn’t our strength. We are a men’s and boy’s specialty store focused on providing high-quality clothing with custom-tailoring. Our customer is king. When we had seven stores, communication between the stores and with our customers became more disconnected. We started to lose that great family ‘camaraderie’ that is essentially the key to our success.” – Paul Simon


31. “And she said ‘Losing love is like a window in your heart, Everybody sees you’re blown apart, Everybody feels the wind blow.’” – Paul Simon

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

33. “Much of songwriting is simply a mystery.” – Paul Simon

34. “Breakdowns come, and breakdowns go.” – Paul Simon

35. “I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers, still crazy after all these years.” – Paul Simon

36. “People often called us perfectionists, but we were not looking for perfection. We were looking for some kind of magic in the music.” – Paul Simon

37. “A songwriter’s supreme challenge is being complex and simple at the same time” – Paul Simon

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

39. “I always get very calm with baseball.” – Paul Simon


40th of 50 Paul Simon Quotes

40. “You want to be a writer, don’t know how or when? Find a quiet place, use a humble pen.” – Paul Simon


41. “Believing I had supernatural powers, I slammed into a brick wall.” – Paul Simon

42. “People talking without speaking,/People listening without hearing…Sounds of Silence.” – Paul Simon

43. “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” – Paul Simon

44. “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.” – Paul Simon

45. “She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy I said Be careful his bowtie is really a camera.” – Paul Simon

46. “We work our jobs, collect our pay, believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip-sliding away.” – Paul Simon

47. “I rate each album as better than the last one. That’s how I see it.” – Paul Simon

48. “Kodachrome, it gives us those nice bright colors Gives us the greens of summers Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah! I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph So momma, don’t take my Kodachrome away…” – Paul Simon

49. “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.” – Paul Simon

50. “I really don’t know what exactly all the songs mean. Sometimes other people have meanings and when I hear them I think, ‘That’s really a better meaning than I thought, and perfectly valid, given the words that exist.’ So part of what makes a song really good is that people take in different meanings, and they apply them, and they might be more powerful than the ones I’m thinking.” – Paul Simon



Thanks for checking out this collection of quotes from Paul Simon! Don’t forget to share them on social media with your friends and family.

Which are your favorite Paul Simon quotes? Leave a comment below.

Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa is a writer for Wealthy Gorilla. Friends often call her Zii. She is a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia who currently lives in Bali. Zii loves photography and travelling.


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