John Simon, Songwriter, and Producer of Landmark Albums of the '60s

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Composer, pianist, singer, producer, and arranger John Simon has been busy ever since producing classic albums in the 1960s, such as Leonard Cohen's first album "Songs of Leonard Cohen", "Bookends" by Simon & Garfunkel, and "Cheap Thrllls" by Big Brother & the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin). For The Band he produced and played on their first album "Music From Big Pink" and its followup, "The Band," as well as serving as Musical Director their filmed concert "The Last Waltz."

"John Simon's Album," his first, released in 1970, and his subsequent albums such as "Journey" (1972), display the imagination, ingenuity, and catchiness of Simon's own songwriting.

Back in 1996 David Garland welcomed John Simon to the WNYC Studio to perform and to talk about Simon's music and career. Here are highlights from that session, featuring John Simon's solo renditions of several of his songs, music from some of the aforementioned albums, and excerpts from other productions of his, such as the sonic collage album "The Medium is the Massage," and the hit single "Red Rubber Ball."

On Thursday, April 25, John Simon returns to New York City to perform at Joe's Pub.

Comments [2]

steven guarnaccia from brooklyn

This was a delightful listen. What a relaxed and literate interviewee. And the combination of voices (Garland/Simon) was a treat as well. I was sorry to miss John Simon's recent appearance at Joe's Pub. I guess the first time I was aware of Simon as a singer/ songwriter was listening to the old WNEW (with I think Jonathan Schwartz as DJ) and hearing My Name is Jack for the first time. I looked for that song for years and finally found it years later on the soundtrack album, You Are What You Eat. I would see his producer credit here and there on these choice albums and always felt that the sounds of the records had a family resemblance (much as I feel that Van Dyke Parks stamps the records he produces with a distinct sensibility). It was great to hear his Fran Landesman collaboration (his voice seems to share a wryness with Bob Dorough's). I've owned The Medium is the Massage for some time (but post-owning a turntable), and just got a turntable again. I really look forward to listening to the whole thing after hearing that tantalizing excerpt. Thank you for the thoroughly enjoyable show.

May. 03 2013 02:15 PM
David Schwartz from Ossining, NY

Wonderful, thanks so much. believe it or not some of us didn't know Simon wrote songs at all.

Apr. 21 2013 08:24 PM

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