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America (song)

From Academic Kids

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America, a Paul Simon song, was made popular by 1960s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel. It was included in their album Bookends, released April 3, 1968.

The song was released as a single in 1972, to coincide with the album Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits.

In poetic terms the song describes in first-hand terms the physical and metaphorical journey of two companions in search of the true meaning of America. Their initial hopefulness, indicated by such lyrics as "Let us be lovers", turns to a sense of frustration and sadness, accompanied by the inevitable breakdown of their relationship: "Kathy I'm lost, I said - though I knew she was sleeping".

Finally the realisation dawns on the singer that, like El Dorado, the fabled America for which they are searching is an illusion, and all the travellers (and by extension all Americans) are seeking this mythical land in vain.

The song makes references to the cities of Saginaw, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and to the New Jersey Turnpike.

The song was covered by the progressive rock band Yes in 1971. A memorably minimalist performance of it was given by David Bowie to open the October 2001 Concert for New York City, held in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

External link

  • Lyrics (http://www.medialab.chalmers.se/guitar/america.lyr.html)
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