Cue Paul Simon

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Cue the Violins – If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?


With the sad death of Mike Nichols this week, I watched and listened to The Graduate once again. This is one of my favorite films ever, and easily the most personally influential. (I’ve always felt I was Benjamin Braddock without a Mrs. Robinson or Elaine.) I was 16 when I first saw it, worried about my present and future, wondering who I was, what I was about, interested in the possibilities of sex, and (oddly) not much interested in music. I had heard the haunting duets of Simon & Garfunkel mangled on a tiny transistor radio, but I hadn’t really listened. The opening scene of The Graduate finally got my full attention.

I immediately went to the local record store and bought S&G’s three studio albums and the soundtrack album – the first records I ever bought – and I wore them out over the next few years. Paul Simon’s lyrics were written and played for me, I was sure. (I still am, actually.) I bought a guitar 5 years later solely to learn to play Paul Simon songs. (Well, I confess that I had noticed that pretty women seemed to be attracted to guys who sweetly pluck those six strings.) (It took me years before I discovered that other musical artists were damned good as well, but that’s another post.)

The film’s story gave me bearings; the music gave me direction. Thanks ever to Mike Nichols, Dustin Hoffman, Charles Webb, and Paul Simon.

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