Classic Song Of The Week- You Can Call Me Al
Let’s jump into our time machine and go back to 1986 where you can remember this song hit 23 here in the states. We are talking about Paul Simon’s classic “You Can Call Me All” with this week’s Classic Song Of The Week.
Back in 1986, Simon recorded this 3 months after returning from South Africa, where he worked with local musicians and experimented with their sounds.
In a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine, Simon explains his classic:
“‘You Can Call Me Al’ starts off very easily with sort of a joke: ‘Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?’ Very easy words. Then it has a chorus that you can’t understand. What is he talking about, you can call me Betty, and Betty, you can call me Al? You don’t know what I’m talking about. But I don’t think it’s bothersome. You don’t know what I’m talking about but neither do I. At that point. The second verse is really a recapitulation: A man walks down the street, he says… another thing. And by the time you get to the third verse, and people have been into the song long enough, now you can start to throw abstract images. Because there’s been a structure, and those abstract images, they will come down and fall into one of the slots that the mind has already made up about the structure of the song. So now you have this guy who’s no longer thinking about the mundane thoughts, about whether he’s getting too fat, whether he needs a photo opportunity, or whether he’s afraid of the dogs in the moonlight and the graveyard.”
My favorite part about this classic is the video. For some crazy reason it has Chevy Chase singing the entire song.