Simon & Garfunkel — America
Album: Bookends
Avg rating:
8.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1242
Ratings histogram:
Released: 1968
Length: 3:21
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Mm
Mm

"Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together"
"I've got some real estate here in my bag"
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And walked off to look for America

"Kathy," I said, as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I've come to look for America"

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said, "Be careful, his bowtie is really a camera"

"Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat"
"We smoked the last one an hour ago"
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the Moon rose over an open field

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
"I'm empty and aching, and I don't know why"
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America
Comments (199)add comment
 thewiseking wrote:
Quick, name a rock and roll anthem which also references the New Jersey Turnpike
 
There's probably at least one Springsteen tune which does; maybe one of his lesser-known numbers.
Quick, name a rock and roll anthem which also references the New Jersey Turnpike
Agree with Medoras, possibly their greatest album and this song a favourite.
Nice lyrics especially for that time period.  Few of us had the opportunity to Look for America so Simon/Garfunkel did it for us.
One of many brilliant songs from Bookends, which is quite possibly Simon & Garfunkel's best and most underrated album.
Also looking for America, at about the same time:
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02084/easyrider_2084785c.jpg
(It didn't end so well.)
where was he at after the four day hitch hike from Saginaw?
On the road...get on the road. With clear eyes and open mind and heart. 

We should all be so lucky.
Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one my raincoat.
We smoked the last one an hour ago!
So we bought some more cigarettes.
Then we smoked all those cigarettes,
And walked off to look for some cigarettes... 
 below72 wrote:
a song which could be in top ten to define a generation 

 
Agreed, and no doubt one of Paul's best compositions. 

Kind of makes me think....some generations were the 'greatest' and sacrificed to give their descendants a better life...and another generation felt lost & alone and went out to find themselves...and another expects everything to be handed to them for free.

....maybe not quite right but it seems that way sometimes... 
a song which could be in top ten to define a generation 
 mrtuba9 wrote:
'"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping...'  {#Yes}

 
This line and image was my inspiration to later write a song about a woman I sat next to on a bus.  Such inspirational music!
An effing masterpiece.  "And the moon rose over an open field..."  I saw it in my mind the first time I heard it.  That is the sign of a truly great song.
Feel the berning classic. Sweet. Don't write 'em like that anymore. 
My brother left this album at home after he went off to Vietnam and it sort of became my first album.  I can't even objectively rate this song so great was its and every other song on the album's influence on everything I heard after.  I'd like to think much of my musical taste can be traced back to this album, though I'm not sure how that accounts for all the shitty music I bought in the 70s.  
10 out of 10 :)
 
I love the Yes version, too, but I think the opposite case works better: the Yes version makes sense only as an arrangement of S&G's original. Like a jazz master bending a song to the edge of becoming unrecognizable, I think Yes was making a compliment to the original song by doing something other than a slavish cover. Both versions are beautiful, at least to me, but they're very different kinds of beauty. 

 
wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 


Good as it gets.
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
<— big Yes fan. But "America" by them is a giant pile of noise compared to this delicate exploration of existentialism.
 
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
Few people here can exceed my love for Yes (or my indifference to solo Paul Simon) but the original blows the noisy Yes version completely out of the water. They're riding a bus, not a semi truck.

"Every Little Thing", however, is a pretty good Yes cover of the Beatles tune. 
Songs simply don't get much better than this.
 The_Walrus wrote:
Staggeringly beautiful.
 
{#Yes}
'"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping...'  {#Yes}
 wpost wrote:
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.

 
Yes?  No, thank you.
Anyone see First Aid Kit do this song?....phenomenal!!
I loved that Bowie opened the Concert for Heroes after 911 with this with just a click track.
 I'm so glad to see people think this about the Yes version. Not just a cover but a tribute to S&G.
jmsmy wrote:
A GREAT Song.

One of the greatest cover songs in all of rock is Yes' version - check it out.

 


So hard to listen to. In a good way. 
I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this if I had never heard the superior version by Yes.
 LowPhreak wrote:

+1. I also like Yes' version.

 
There is a Yes version of this?!!!  My imagination presently fails me
Brilliant. 10 all the way. Nice to see this song has received more 10 ratings than any other rating.
A GREAT Song.

One of the greatest cover songs in all of rock is Yes' version - check it out.
Staggeringly beautiful.
{#Cheers} ... come on, this is as Godlike as you can get

 {#Notworthy} 

 {#Notworthy} 
Unique songwriting and harmonising - wonderful and still sounds so fresh and innocent.  {#Notworthy}
Easily one of my favorite S&G songs
"I wept for my youth, sweet passionate young thought,
And cozy women dead that by my side   
Once lay: I wept with bitter longing, not   
Remembering how in my youth I cried."

Stanley Kunitz -- I Dreamed that I Was Old

Exit 8 on the New Jersey Turnpike


Brilliant wordsmithing and storytelling.


 MassivRuss wrote:
Their best.

Discuss.

 
+1. I also like Yes' version.
Their best.

Discuss.
Such an awesome song. Nothing Paul Simon has done since can match it - inspired.
 WonderLizard wrote:
Does it say something about us as a culture that a song about lost youth has become a touchstone of sorts? I mean, you don't have Leonard Cohen crooning, "We're off in search of Canada..."

 
Leonard Cohen may not have done the "off in search of Canada" thing, but lots of other Canadian performers have, including Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Sam Roberts, Stompin' Tom Connors and Ian Tyson. (Mostly without the wistfulness of S&G's song, of course. "Helpless" being a major exception.) I'm sure those songs have not been heard in the States because FM radio programers don't want to play songs about the prairie and how damn cold it is. 

For what it's worth, I do not know whether Stompin' Tom ever mentioned Lightfoot or Young by name, but he was disdainful of those Canadian performers who went south of the border to seek larger fame and dollars. He felt they should have been truer to their Canadian heritage. To my knowledge, Stompin' Tom performed on American television only once. 

Take care.  

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
"Gabardine suits and bow ties" notwithstanding, America is one of Paul Simon's finest songs and places him among the very best of American music poets.

Featured on Bookends, which is my favorite and possibly Simon & Garfunkel's most underrated effort, I find myself revisiting this album every few years to appreciate just how good it really is.  

 eswiley2 wrote:
Average rating 9.. . I think that's the highest average rating I've seen on RP.

A timeless classic.  Written by a kid.  A kid who also gave us Sounds of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Is Justin Bieber going to hold up after 40 years like this?   I'm thinking no.
 
I think Jimi had a 9.2 yesterday, Little Wing.
Average rating 9.. . I think that's the highest average rating I've seen on RP.

A timeless classic.  Written by a kid.  A kid who also gave us Sounds of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Is Justin Bieber going to hold up after 40 years like this?   I'm thinking no.
 Art_Carnage wrote:
It was groovy, back in the day. But it comes off as way too twee and precious now. Definitely lesser S&G.
 
I think tthis song holds up really well even taking into account that it was written in a very different era, I think the story works today...young people trying to find out who they are and trying to find America while they're at it.
 Art_Carnage wrote:
It was groovy, back in the day. But it comes off as way too twee and precious now. Definitely lesser S&G.
 
I disagree.  But that doesn't mean that I think you are a bad person or anything.