Paul Simon’s “Upsetting” New Condition May Prevent Him From Playing Live Music

Matthew Straubmuller (imatty35)

Singer/songwriter Paul Simon is best known for hits including “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and “The Sound of Silence.” Five years ago, he claimed he was never going to write another song, but it turns out that he wasn’t able to stop writing. As he told CBS News, “the words would come” in the early morning hours. He’d wake up several times at night, and the words were just “there.” He said, “I’d write ’em down and start to put it together.”

That’s how he wrote the songs on his latest album, “Seven Psalms.” The name for the album also came to him in a dream. He explained, “The dream said, ‘You’re working on a piece called ‘Seven Psalms.'” He doesn’t claim to know who or what is putting the words in his dreams. He said, “I don’t even know if I wanna know.”

While it might seem incredible that Simon is literally hearing lyrics and album titles in his dreams, this is not something new for him. In fact, he explains that’s how he wrote many of his hit songs including “The Sound of Silence” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” Simon explained that the songs are just “there.” He said, “I’m grateful for it. It’s been there most of my life.”


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While songwriting may come almost too easily for Simon, singing is another matter. He is not losing his voice, but he is losing an ability that may prevent him from ever performing live on stage again. Simon is losing his hearing.

Simon spoke about his hearing loss and how it is and is not impacting his ability to make music. The good news is that he “can still hear well enough to play guitar and write.” The bad news is that he “can’t hear well enough to play with five or six musicians.”

Simon started losing his hearing about two years ago, and now, he only has about 8% of hearing remaining in his left ear. He’s “not happy about it,” but he’s trying to remain optimistic. He said, “I really wanted to perform the ‘Seven Psalms.’ I haven’t given up hope, but I’m prepared to accept that I might not be able to.”

He also thinks there’s something for him to learn from his hearing loss. He thinks that lesson may be “acceptance of, you know, less? That’s life. You know, people have a lot worse than this.”

While Simon may or may not perform again, he’s definitely not done writing. He explained that he has written not one but two songs recently, and he’s far from done. He said, “As long as I can write and sing, I’ll make records, even if it’s just for myself.”

Simon’s most recent on stage performance was in 2022 at the Newport Folk Festival. Do you think Simon will ever perform on stage again, or do you think his performance in 2022 will end up being his last performance?