Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
Simon wrote this in response to the Jimmy Cliff song "Vietnam;" a song about a mother receiving a letter about her son's death on the battlefield. Simon recorded this song in Jamaica using Cliff's musicians, hence the very authentic sound. Simon said of the song that it "became the first Reggae hit by a non-Jamaican white guy outside Jamaica." (thanks, Cudjoe - Princeton, NJ)
Simon came up with the title after seeing a chicken and egg dish called "Mother and Child Reunion" on the menu at 456 Restaurant in Chinatown, New York. (thanks, Simon - Sydney, Australia)
This was Simon's first single as a solo artist.
We can't confirm that Simon wrote the song based on this story, but there are some interesting coincidences. Thanks to Graham from Dorset, England for sending it:
In The early 1970s a foster story hit the world Headlines from Dorset England. It was the first time ever that the phrase "Tug Of Love" was used. It was known as the Bridport Foster case, which is where my sister "Jeanette" lived with her foster mother since the age of six months old. When the case went to the High Court in London, my sister was 9 years old. I was 13 years old. I have 4 Sisters and Three brothers. We were all fostered out to different foster homes. I was in care for over 3 years. Jeanette was the last to come home. Understandably her foster mother didn't want to give her up after such a long period of time. The case ended in 1972, the same year Paul Simon recorded this massive hit. The whole of my family had to leave Dorchester for our own safety because of the feelings of the general public locally and world wide. my mother would receive sacks full of mail from around the world every day. In the end she had them delivered to Social Services Department at County Hall In Dorchester because a lot of it was hate mail and she found it too distressing to read. We (myself my 3 Brothers and 3 of my 4 sisters and my Mother and Step Father) were wisked away in cars driven by social services, hotly pursued by the world press, to a secret location in the North of the county where we lived for 12 months.
On Glen's résumé: hit songwriter, Facebook dominator, and member of Styx.
As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.
Martyn Ware of Heaven 17
Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.
Gym Class Heroes
Their drummer/songwriter with the story behind "Cupid's Chokehold," and how they handle Travie McCoy's solo success.