A revelatory account of the life of beloved American music icon, Paul Simon, by the bestselling rock biographer
Peter Ames Carlin
To have been alive during the last sixty years is to have lived with the music of Paul Simon. The boy from Queens scored his first hit record in 1957, just months after Elvis Presley ignited the rock era. As the songwriting half of Simon & Garfunkel, his work helped define the youth movement of the ’60s. On his own in the ’70s, Simon made radio-dominating hits. He kicked off the ’80s by reuniting with Garfunkel to perform for half a million New Yorkers in Central Park. Five years later, Simon’s album “Graceland” sold millions and spurred an international political controversy. And it doesn’t stop there.
The grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, the nearly 75-year-old singer-songwriter has not only sold more than 100 million records, won 15 Grammy awards and been installed into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice, but has also animated the meaning—and flexibility—of personal and cultural identity in a rapidly shrinking world.
Simon has also lived one of the most vibrant lives of modern times; a story replete with tales of Carrie Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Shelley Duvall, Nelson Mandela, the Grateful Dead, drugs, depression, marriage, divorce, and more. A life story with the scope and power of an epic novel, Carlin’s Homeward Bound is the first major biography of one of the most influential popular artists in American history.
“You hold in your hands a book just as epic and fine as “Sound of Silence” or “American Tune.” Peter Carlin has gotten it all down, the partnerships, the comedy, the heartbreak and triumph of Paul Simon, who might well be the one who lasts. And it’s not just the words—it’s the music, that is, the sharp clarity of Carlin’s writing that keeps the pages flying. The great gift of Homeward Bound is to let you hear Paul Simon’s great catalog of tunes all over again, as if for the first time.”
—Rich Cohen, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones
“The world of pop music has paraded its own mythologies for decades, insisting that art and business can be separated, that authenticity is the condition of the greats, that politics is as easy as a statement made from a stage. But the truths are different: art and commerce are regularly in unflattering bedroom situations, the greats spend much of their time adjusting masks, and politics only begins with a protest song. The case of Paul Simon, presented here by Peter Ames Carlin with an admirably even tone and unabashed skill, pushes these truths out front. Homeward Bound is a book you should read if the ruckus you hear behind those soaring melodies is of interest, as it should be.”
—Warren Zanes, New York Times bestselling author of Petty
“[A] nuanced, fascinating portrait…Carlin expertly tracks Simon’s professional career, from the earliest days with Garfunkel when they were finding their footing as performers, through the climax of their career as a band with their 1970 album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ to Simon’s solo artistic peak with the 1986 release of ‘Graceland.’ Simon’s music career defies easy categorization—much as his relationship with Garfunkel does—but in Carlin’s portrayal, his legacy as an innovative songwriter and musician is undeniable. An absorbing and layered study of ‘one of the most influential voices in Western popular culture.’”