Image used solely to illustrate subject for purposes of an album review, and consistent with fair use doctrine

Released 26 January 1970, BOTW was Simon and Garfunkel’s fifth and final studio album, and was almost the next-last album I listened to in this lifetime. I played it the night before my August 2003 car accident, and when I was finally able to sit in a chair by my record player again, that was the first LP I put on the turntable.

Ever since then, hearing any of the songs can set something off in my psyche and give me a feeling akin to body memories, with my throat getting tighter. It’s not a PTSD trigger, but it brings back memories of those almost being among the final songs I ever heard.

S&G’s last album, Bookends, was released in April 1968, and recording for BOTW commenced in November. However, a long delay arose in January 1969—the filming of Catch-22, in which Art plays Nately. (This is a dreadful, dreadful movie, taking way too many liberties with the classic novel!)

When the duo got back to business in the studio, they had to decline a number of invitations, including Woodstock. Crafting their new album was top priority. In the end, they selected eleven songs. Several other songs, among them “Feuilles-O,” “Groundhog,” and “Cuba Si, Nixon No,” were left in the vault.

Track listing, with stars by the bonus tracks:

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” (#1 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, and New Zealand; #2 in Australia, Ireland, and Spain; #3 in Germany; #4 in Austria and South Africa; #5 in Switzerland and The Netherlands; #7 in Norway; #23 in Belgium)

“El Cóndor Pasa (If I Could)” (written by Peruvian commposer Daniel Alomía Robles in 1913) (#1 in Belgium, Australia, Austria, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland; #6, #11, and #18 on different U.S. charts; #14 in New Zealand)

“Cecilia” (my third journal’s namesake song) (#1 in The Netherlands; #2 in Spain, Canada, and Germany; #3 in Belgium and Switzerland; #4, #31, and #1 on different U.S. charts; #6 in Australia and Austria; #9 in Belgium; #19 in Rhodesia)

“Keep the Customer Satisfied” (later covered by Gary Puckett as a solo artist)
“So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” (not a fan of the overly long fadeout!)

“The Boxer” (#1 and #3 on different Canadian charts; #2 in Austria and The Netherlands; #3 in South Africa; #4 and #7 on different U.S. charts; #5 in Sweden; #6 in the U.K.; #7 in Ireland; #8 in Australia; #9 in New Zealand and Norway; #10 in Spain; #13 in Zimbabwe; #19 in West Germany)

“Baby Driver”
“The Only Living Boy in New York”
“Why Don’t You Write Me”
“Bye Bye Love” (cover of The Everly Brothers’ original)
“Song for the Asking”
“Feuilles-O” (demo)*
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” (demo take six)*

The album reached #1 in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Spain, and Norway. In Italy, it was #4.

While I truly enjoy this album, I don’t rank it in the same territory as PSR&T and Bookends. It’s a little too hit and miss. A truly classic album shouldn’t have so much filler!

Besides the four singles, my favorite tracks are “The Only Living Boy in New York” and “Song for the Asking.”

I originally rated it 4.5 on my old Angelfire site, but now I’d honestly give it 4 stars.

5 thoughts on “Happy 50th birthday, BOTW!

  1. A great album indeed! But you mentioned triggers, soooo . . .

    BOTW??? WTH? One if my triggers is the widespread online use of initials that mean something to the writer, but not the reader. It’s a way of showing superiority — I’m an insider so I know what this means. This post wasn’t a particularly annoying example of this trend because you do show the album cover, but I first saw this in my e-mail, which did not have the graphic. I knew right then what my comment would be. Sorry for venting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely understand the complaint! The only times I use an abbreviation now are when I write it out in the first line of the post or make it obvious with an image of the album cover or movie poster. It makes it easier to refer to something with a long title. In the days of my old Angelfire site, I used abbreviations for quite a lot of songs and albums, following the lead of other people in The Who fan community, and because I started out geared towards classic rock fans, esp. Who fans. I had a page giving the meanings of my many abbreviations, though now I err on the side of writing it out or showing it first before defaulting to shorthand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also write out my abbreviations especially because in 2002 on a literary fan site there were so many international users.

        Sometimes abbreviations intrigue and give a frisson of dopamine – “Oh. Bridge over Troubled Water”!

        Had a great time with a British Invasion radio programme a few hours ago with many lesser-known songs from 1960-64 [well, not always so well-known to my ears].

        Like

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