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Paul Simon, First Gershwin Prize-Winner, Honored May 23

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Paul Simon, Gershwin Prize winnerFor people of a certain age ? for instance, mine ? few performers or artists have defined American music quite so distinctly and significantly as Paul Simon. I remember watching ?Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park? on HBO as if it were yesterday, and Paul Simon?s ?Graceland? was one of the first CDs I ever bought.

Of course, that?s barely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the true extent of his impact, which is why Paul Simon has been named the first recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Today the Library launched an online page dedicated to the Gershwin Prize, named for the brothers who themselves had an indelible impact on American music, and whose collections are housed here.

A tribute concert to Paul Simon will be held May 23 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., (tickets available here) and will be broadcast in all its HD splendor June 27 on PBS.

I?ve watched as huge names keep being added to the concert lineup, and just when I think my jaw can?t drop any lower, it does. As of this writing, performers include Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony, Shawn Colvin, Dixie Hummingbirds, Jerry Douglas, Art Garfunkel, Philip Glass, Alison Krauss, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lyle Lovett, Stephen Marley, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and Buckwheat Zydeco. Presenters include former poet laureate Billy Collins, Bob Costas and Lorne Michaels.

(Image from LOC?s Wise Guide)

Comments (24)

  1. i’m a huge fan of peter simon, i’m glad to see this happen.

  2. I just regret that I understand fifty percent of the poetry of Paul Simon. I’m a french canadian and the songs of Paul Simon help me to live, sing and play guitar. Be proud of this tree on the American soil.


  4. J.P., I am told that PBS doesn’t have any plans to offer the concert on VHS or DVD.

  5. Paul Simon definitely deserves to be the recipient of The Gershwin Prize for popular song. I don’t know his songs that much, but my dad really likes him. In fact, my dad always used to say that he was inspired by Paul Simon, which is why he tried to learn how to play the guitar. Moreover, Paul Simon is obviously a “musician with a heart”, as my father puts it. He has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes, always putting his talent to good use and giving what he can. I think he’s really a good role model that the youth can try to emulate.

  6. Matt:

    The LOC Paul Simon event was absolutely wonderful. I so wish it was available on DVD. Does your “I am told” comment mean that there definitely won’t be a DVD or simply that that’s what you’ve heard so far?


  7. will anyone be offering this as a dvd or atleast show it again it came on a 3 in the morning hwre i live and i missed it i love all of the perfomers and would love to see it again

  8. i mean i’m probably one of his youngest fans “i’m in my teens” and i mean i just loved what part of the performance i saw

  9. JRG, to take myself out of the passive voice, “PBS told me” that there won’t be a VHS or DVD, so I guess that’s pretty definitive.

  10. I particularly liked the finale with the Dixie Hummingbirds. It’s a shame that no DVDs will be offered for sale.

  11. Wake up, LOC! Get this show packaged on DVD before Christmas. You’ll sell a ton of them!

  12. I agree. I would buy several DVDs if they were available!

  13. How in the heck can we get PBS to put out a DVD?

  14. I am certain it is a matter of PBS’s needing to obtain a multitude of rights and permissions from all of those stars, which is why we did our best to publicize it in advance — i.e., to allow people to fire up their home recording devices for repeat viewings.

  15. When will this be on TV again? I missed half of it and I want to record it

  16. When will this be aired again?

  17. Where can I get a copy of the concert?

  18. Dear Matt or PBS

    My New Year’s hope is for

    PBS to air this program again

    with proper notice to everyone

    that wrote. It is truly magical,

    and PBS can, at least, use it

    as a fundraiser. Please if anyone

    cares what we write make this

    available in 2009.

  19. I’m Watching This Now For The Fist Time; It’s Great !!
    I first learned about Paul in the seventies when I step outside a local bar to smoke myself a “Jay”. When I came back in guess what song was playing on the jukebox (The truth). He opened may eye’s to some beautiful music at a time when I was only focused on hard rock music my friends said was “Cool”. My motto since then is “Always expand you musical horizon” (The truth).

  20. can I purchase a dvd of this concert?

  21. I’m in Toronto and watched this show in complete amazement when it aired on a Buffalo TV station. At the end of the show they offered a DVD of the entire performance but I think it was about $100 at the time.

    I figured I’d find it for a 1/4 of that price elsewhere but, as many of you have learned, it simply isn’t otherwise available.

    Now…how to get the whole performance with all those incredible musicians on DVD???

    I would LOVE to know!!

  22. I just heard a James Taylor and Alison Krauss cover of The Boxer and that lead me to a few sites one which said that this DVD will be for sale beginning 5/19/09 – I hope it’s true!

  23. Yes!!!!!!!!!!

    The concert has been released

    Paul Simon and Friends 5/19/09

    on BluRay 6/02/09

  24. Just purchased the (Library of Congress DVD) online having been to see Paul & Art perform their “Old Friends” concert here in Perth, Western Australia just the other day. I have been a listening to to this genius since the beginning of his career. Without Paul I most probably would not be playing the guitar (albeit badly) now. For me he is the King of nostalgia as I lived in London for over thirty years. He reminisced so much about England in his early days. May God Bless him. Long live the King.

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