Fifty-Nine

Slow down, you move too fast.
Gotta make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy

59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, Paul Simon

I always forget that that song isn’t just called “Feelin’ Groovy.” And now it’s in my head, and probably in yours as well. You’re welcome!

When I was in college, music was very important to me, and one way to learn something about someone was to examine their CD collection, and ask them what they liked. I always loved when someone would say, “Oh, I like all kinds of music,” and then a quick analysis of their 40 CDs would show that yes, they liked both rock AND pop. What cultural touchstones they were! (Yes, I was a bit of a music snob in those days.) But there were those students who couldn’t get enough of Dave Matthews. (I certainly could.) There were classic rock and metalheads. There was the Dar Williams crowd. And of course, there were folks like my roommate who discovered funk the summer between junior and senior year, and subjected me to Parliament and the P. Funk All-Stars. (Seriously, dude.) Oh, and I dursn’t forget the showtunes.

But it seemed to me that everybody liked, or at least had a positive inclination toward, Simon and Garfunkel. Their greatest hits album was in a lot of people’s collections. Who doesn’t love “The Sound of Silence”? Or “Scarborough Fair”? Or “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”? A whole generation associates the lyric “Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson” with the ending of a seminal movie: that’s right, I’m speaking of Wayne’s World.

My theory is this: there is nobody who actively dislikes or hates Simon and Garfunkel’s music. (Though I know Simon and Garfunkel themselves are not exactly fans of each other.) But despite their personal acrimony, they made some beautiful music. Music that nobody detests. And I think that’s unique. Feel free to tell me in the comments if you’re the counterexample that wrecks my theory. But until then, I’ll just be over here feelin’ groovy.

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