Similar Ingredients [#6] – Paul Simon/Dan Fogelberg


Songs with certain similarities – either musical, lyrical, historical, cultural, and/or all of these things.

=”Still Crazy After All These Years” (by Paul Simon) 1975=

=”Same Old Lang Syne” (by Dan Fogelberg) 1980=

These two songs are so similar it’s almost like Simon and Fogelberg went to the same songwriter’s retreat and were given the assignment to write a song about meeting an old lover, reminiscing while having a beer together, and then philosophizing about times gone by and entering middle age.

It’s not just the lyrics. Both artists were also trying to do something different musically with their track. Paul Simon in SongTalk:

“Instead of using a minor chord I use a major chord and go up a step. It is hard to get an interesting key change. I also like to write a bridge and just jump a whole-tone up. ‘Still Crazy’ has that.”

Dan Fogelberg talks at length about the song in a Performing Songwriter interview, including:

“…I took Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, that riff, and I wrote it in C major and played it with a Floyd Cramer feel, which I thought was funny to begin with. And then I threw this 6 minor chord in, which to musicians I thought would be a very funny thing to do.”

“Still Crazy” was a hit in 1975.  The encounter that Fogelberg sings about also happened in 1975 (even though the song wasn’t released till 1980). Could “Still Crazy” have been playing on the car radio while Dan and the girl who “married her an architect” were drinking those beers in the parking lot?

I leave you with the strange same-old-lang-syne-synchronicity of this quote from Simon in Q magazine:

“The song is a bit darker than people think. Because the chorus and the phrase are so suggestive of a long time passing, it has a touch of the “Auld Lang Syne” to it. I don’t think people pay attention to the lyrics of the song, which makes me feel I probably wrote the wrong lyric to it.”

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