#986: 1968, Simon & Garfunkel, America

by Jackie_South on February 6, 2015

No, not another song in our seemingly endless national anthems themeweek“. This one is inspired by last week’s spellbinding, peerless, First Aid Kit gig at the Hammersmith Apollo (go on, click the links, you know you want to!).

Bookended by The Lion’s Roar and Emmylou, gigs do not get much better. But one of the most memorable performances was their version of this Simon and Garfunkel number. It was one of those great covers that makes you listen to the song anew.

The original of course is great, and given the number of times I have traveled the States by train and coach it has a special resonance for me (I’ve never been to Saginaw though!). At the height of Vietnam, this doomed romance between Kathy and the singer and the sense of becoming lost are all a parallel for the demise of the American dream:

“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said,
Though I know she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why.”

At the end of the journey, on the New Jersey turnpike, Simon realises that he is not the only one: All come to look for America.

47 years on, it still tugs at the heartstrings.

Oh, and as a treat, I just had to post the First Aid Kit version too, as a bonus.

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